473 Southampton First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise so we don’t really have anything to compare it to. We travelled in a party of 6, 5 adults and one teenager... Getting on the ship was stress free and so much easier than flying. The ship was very clean but this ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we don’t really have anything to compare it to. We travelled in a party of 6, 5 adults and one teenager... Getting on the ship was stress free and so much easier than flying. The ship was very clean but this could have been due to a norovirus outbreak on the cruise before us it was continuously cleaned all the time we were on the ship. The ship is enormous, I was still getting lost on day 13 !....we had a balcony room which was ideal for 2 people but I wouldn’t want anymore than 2 in there ! The bathrooms are tiny. Our room was cleaned every day, bed made and towels changed. We never used room service didn’t really need to. My son who is 16 said it was the best holiday he’s been on he made loads of friends and for teens it’s great, you can give them freedom knowing that they are safe on the ship. There’s a curfew of 1am and security are very strict, which is good. The main dining room was fantastic..lots of choice and food always hot. We had anytime dining but ended up booking for 8pm each night as we found two waiters that looked after us and were amazing. Formal nights book a table or you will queue for ever ! We ate in windjammer on sea days for lunch, food is great however it’s too much like a canteen for me and we always struggled to get a seat. We tried Izumi one of the nights, it’s entertaining and the food is amazingly tasty. The rest of the bars and cafes on the promenade were very good. We booked our own trips as the RC were far too expensive. The gym is well equipped and you can watch dolphins whilst on the treadmill ! Not everyday you experienced that !....All the ports we stayed in were lovely and most were a walk from the ship. The entertainment was good, the bands were excellent as were the dancers and singers. Grease was a good show. Negatives for us were the amount of people on the ship. Sea days you struggled to get a sunbed and had to wait for ever the get a drink in the pool bars. The champagne bar and balero bar were always full and we always struggled to get a drink before dinner. For me a holiday is all about dining al fresco but there’s no-where to eat outdoors at night and even if there was it would have been too windy. If you get the opportunity do the silent disco it’s great fun. I had a lovely time and glad I’ve experienced a cruise but I don’t think cruising is for me..too busy and noisy and I could get 3 five star holidays for the price we paid. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price ... Read More
My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price and Marketing jargon but did not live up to the hype. The entertainment was more Butlins than West End, although the theatre was very good and the last show was ok but according to my son, with RC & NCL that happens every night. The food at best was adequate and did not live up to my expectation. In fact, the conversation around our table and talking to other guests was that the standards were not as good as similarly priced competitors. Even the waiting staff agreed that it was a common observation by guests, although according to my son, when you mention this to Princess Customer Services, they deny it all (rather unsurprisingly) My son worked as a chef in top establisments for many years and is quite capable of making the distinction. The crew were very good, the ship was lovely, the public places clean and nice to be in but the whole thing was a bit of a let down for us, as my son felt guilty at encouraging me to come along at a cost well in excess of £1000, a lot for me on my pension ! The cabin was nice enough and served its purpose. I will go Cruising again, but not on Princess, I will take my sons advise and go with NCL next time, suggest you do the same. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
1st cruise and I was not disappointed! Arrived at the port at around 10am and got parked up and checked in immediately. We only had a 30 minute wait in the terminal before we were called to embark. We were on the ship within an hour of ... Read More
1st cruise and I was not disappointed! Arrived at the port at around 10am and got parked up and checked in immediately. We only had a 30 minute wait in the terminal before we were called to embark. We were on the ship within an hour of parking! The ship is huge! I was so glad we got on early so we had a few hours to explore before the staterooms are available at 1pm. We had a Promenade Stateroom. As you enter, the bathroom was on the left and the wardrobe on the right. In the bathroom there was the toilet, shower and sink. There was a huge mirror with lights either side which was great for doing make up. There was a corner cabinet with 3 shelves. There was also ample room around the sink area for toiletries and a shelf under the sink. In the wardrobe was one high rail and 2 lower rails for hanging clothes and there was 5 shelves, one of which had the safe on. The safe was very easy to use. Outside the wardrobe was 4 drawers and 3 more shelves. The bed was huge, the size of 2 singles together and it had a foam topper which was so comfy! Between the bed and the window was a small sitting area with 2 sofas and a dressing table/desk and chair. There was another huge mirror with lights and 2 small shelving areas either side of the mirror. The window looked out onto the Royal Promenade. We were on deck 8 so the window was at an angle looking down. We had chosen 'My Time Dining' which meant we could have dinner in the Romeo & Juliet dining room on deck 3 whenever we liked between 6pm and 9.30pm. You didn't have to reserve a table but we did on the 3 occasions we ate in there, twice reserving a table at the dining room earlier in the day and once by calling the reservations line. We had a table for 2 each time, but the tables are very close together so it was more like a table for 6! The menus are displayed on interactive monitors around the ship so each morning we took photos of the menus to take away and decide if we wanted to eat in the dining room. The food in the dining room was very nice. I had Beef Tenderloin one night and it just melted in my mouth! The service was good with just one little blip that wasn't worth complaining about. There isn't much of a view in the Romeo & Juliet dining room, there are no large windows like in the Macbeth & King Lear dining rooms on decks 4 & 5. The other nights we ate in the Windjammer Cafe, as we did breakfast and lunch. Buffet style food but very tasty and plenty of variety. The entertainment was excellent. We went to several shows both in the Alhambra Theatre and Studio B Ice Rink. I would particularly recommend Grease and the Ice shows. I would also recommend you go to the game show Quest, that was hilarious! Our cruise direct Jamie was great fun and made the cruise very entertaining. The service we received everywhere on the ship was great, most of the crew were exceptionally friendly and in particular, our stateroom attendant Joseph Anthony. He was such a blessing throughout the cruise. I would absolutely go again and am already planning the next one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently ... Read More
This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently choosing hotels and activities which allow us to relax and enjoy some quite quality time in pleasant surroundings with attentive and respectful service. We were admittedly late in booking our cruise with your company as being a little bewildered with the variety of options from different companies we took a long time choosing which unfortunately limited our options. Generally upon arrival things were handled well, check in was prompt and courteous and we found our way to our cabin which, whilst smaller than we are used to, was adequate and clean. At this point I have to commend the cabin steward who was both pleasant and diligent. However what became apparent during our stay was the inadequacy of the bed, the booking clearly stated a queen size bed and literature waxed lyrical about the quality. So you can imagine our dismay to find what we actually had was two beds pushed together. Whilst this might be acceptable if they had been sprung divan bases the beds comprised two metal framed singles with inner wire supports giving a hard and prominent ridge in the middle of the bed where the two metal frames joined. We were told that whilst this was unfortunate nothing could be done to rectify this situation and that we should take this up at the end of our trip with customer services. We enjoyed the setting off and the entertainment on deck as we sailed out of the Hamble. In the evening we went to dinner, having chosen the flexible dining option, and were shown to our table with minimal delay. Unfortunately this was one of the few times we had a smooth transition into the dining room. Generally the staffs were pleasant enough but we were constantly shuttled between deck 5 and 6 each evening which admittedly got a bit wearing and confusing and on more than one occasion we were treated to a rather surly greeting at the dining room entrance before being routed to the adjacent deck which quite clearly implied an “are you too stupid to know where to go” rhetoric. Generally the food in the dining room was of good quality but generally the food was only ever tepid. Only on two occasions could the food be said to be hot, once when I had a fish pie and once when my wife had Escargots. Both my wife and I had wine with our meals and on far too many occasions they kept consistently bringing the wrong Rose wine to the table despite my wife being very clear on the name of the wine she wanted. On one occasion they bought the incorrect wine only to replace it with another glass of the wrong wine. It is accepted that this happens occasionally, but the frequency of occurrence was too high to be acceptable particularly when once they know they have brought the incorrect wine they are then at a bit of a loss what to do about it as the system appears not to allow them to replace the drink as it flags on the system as a dubious purchase too soon after the previous one, thus making it uncomfortable for both the guest and the waiter. I personally have to say that I was not a fan of the bench style seats that most of the 2 person tables utilised against a divider. Certainly they are too low and seat you at a significantly detrimental position to the table for both dining and conversation with your partner. Unfortunately the limited options on tables for two with two chairs meant having to wait long times for their availability. We had considered sharing a larger table but had quickly noticed that guest on tables for more than 2 had to wait until that table had filled before anyone took their orders. Having witnessed one couple waiting 20+ minutes for their table to fill we put up with the bench seats, which incidentally are extremely uncomfortable in a suit. Within a few days of eating in the restaurant we noticed a distinct variability in how quickly, or not, we were attended to. It soon became apparent that, policy or not, the staff were trying to synchronise the rows of two people tables so as to aim to serve certain courses at the same time to all tables and ultimately aim to have the tables finish at about the same time. Not only did this result in some evenings feeling rushed and on others being ignored and hence lengthy meals, it also meant that dishes were coming from the kitchen and sitting waiting for others to come out in what seemed to be a deliberate delay aimed at this synchronisation. Additionally staffing levels in the restaurants seemed to vary quite significantly with some evenings seeming deserted compared to others with the predictable outcome of poorer service levels. On the last formal night my wife and I were seated in the foyer area (another story) and being both dressed smartly but casual decided to see if we could go straight to an early dinner (17:45) rather than get changed into something more formal. The girl at the door point blankly refused suggesting that we should eat at the buffet if we did not want to dress formally and that normal dinner is not accessible otherwise. Dinner is arguably part of the package and to not be able to access it anywhere other than the restaurant which required formal dress on three evenings is unacceptable. Surely it should be that the normal dinner is accessible to guest in a separate area if they do not wish to dress formally? We did get changed and went back down to dinner only to be seated next to two couples, the gentleman both being dressed in slacks and casual shirts one of which was a broad check. Obviously it was quite annoying that the concept of formal dress was being applied in a haphazard way penalising some and allowing others. Dinner on the last evening was nothing short of a fiasco, we were shown to our table which had not been cleared and re-laid. Then it was partly laid and the waiters disappeared. After about 5 minutes I got up and appropriated two water glasses from another table which caught the eye of a supervisor across the room, he came and poured some water. Eventually we got a menu and managed to order. Of note was that we then had to chase to get some rolls on the table and then chase further for some butter. Our ordering caused considerable consternation from a couple two tables down who had been waiting some 20 minutes to have someone give them a menu with the lady having to get up and complain to one of the supervisors before someone attended them. The couple to my right had to refuse water 5 times each time someone would bring them glasses only to take them away when they stated they didn’t require water. They were also told that there was no white wine left which sounded absolutely preposterous but then the couple on my left confided that they hadn’t been given the red wine they ordered despite being reassured it was the same one they had been drinking all fortnight which, this not only was insulting to the couple’s intelligence but also was dishonest. The couple two tables down had to complain further when another couple got their dinner before them despite arriving in the restaurant some 30 minute later. Needless to say despite the large variance in our arrivals all 6 tables were served deserts and coffees at about the same time. On our ship days we ate in the buffet a few times, generally this was a most unsatisfactory experience. At any one time over the lunch period there only ever seemed to be one buffet section from the four available that seemed to be open. Typically lunch meant wandering around until you found a table that was unoccupied, in itself no mean achievement. If you wanted to keep your table you then had to leave something at your table while you got your lunch. Unfortunately if it was something impersonal such as a tray or drink then that did not serve to prevent other people from occupying that table when you were gone. If you had anything bulky that prevented you carrying a tray, such as my wife’s bag or my camera, then you were so far from the active buffet station that you felt that one of you had to stay to look after your valuables while the other went and got their lunch. Then very often you had to walk the length of two buffet areas to join a queue for food which inevitably involved significant jostling and pushing as too many people vied for too little space. Popular items were almost impossible to get to as people competed for that option. Once you had your food, which often took a not inconsiderable amount of time, you then had to walk it back to your table and then your partner could get their food. Invariably by the time you got your food back to the table it was cold as it was only ever lukewarm at the start and you rarely got the opportunity to eat together. If you wanted more or a desert then often while you were eating the buffet station closed and a new one opened so you had to then hunt the current open station before you could eat something else. On one occasion the buffet station closed between my wife getting her food and my subsequent attempt. Quite clearly there was an inadequate amount of facilities for the amount of people resulting in something far from a relaxed or enjoyable dining experience. It was something more akin to how you imagine a cheap package holiday buffet to be but with less seating. Breakfast was a similarly disappointing experience. The quality of some of the cooked breakfast items was poor, in particular the sausages and bacon while other cooked breakfast staples such as mushrooms and fried tomatoes seemed non-existent. In general the breakfast seemed to have been conceived on an American concept of an English breakfast rather than a universal approach. In the mornings most stations appeared to be open but seating was virtually inaccessible. On one occasion we had to sit outside in the rain (fortunately partly undercover) as this was the only place available. Another morning we had to sit outside again, which initially was quite pleasant until the maintenance staff decided to replace and varnish stair and balcony rails in the seating area at around 9:30 - 10:00 am. On a few occasions we had to go and hunt cutlery, condiments collecting what was needed on an ad-hoc basis which as you can imagine was far from enjoyable and resulted in the food becoming cold. Generally the boat felt very crowded and noisy, below decks seating was at a premium and the first few days we were often jostled out of the way by people trying to get to seats being vacated by other guests. Ultimately we learned to be more assertive but that is hardly something you want when you are on holiday. One day we went for a coffee and stood waiting for a table only to be informed by one gentleman that he had been waiting for nearly 30 minutes and there was a couple in front of him. Needless to say we gave up on the idea of a coffee that day. Invariably if you wanted to sit in the foyer area around the piano or coffee bar then there was a wait followed by a burst of running to snag a seat. Things were no better in Crooners or the wine bar. Often the problem was people just using the seats to sit and read or just relax. They could not be blamed for this as there was nowhere else for them to go to do this but it did block access to these facilities. The situation was not helped by selling opportunities organised for “the few”. On an already crowded ship it is reprehensible to close the Explorers Bar for half the day at a time just to sell a few paintings to a handful of individuals. If it had been just the one day it would still have been inexcusable but multiple days is just beyond belief and totally detrimental to the well-being and comfort of the other cruise guest. The overcrowding made itself apparent on a number of evenings. On one in particular we could not get a seat in the Wheelhouse bar nor could we find a seat in the Explorers bar or adjacent lobby area, the Foyer area around the piano was full as was Crooners and the Wine bar. Most evenings meant getting an early meal and then finding a seat before the scheduled diners came out and filled the seats. Because of the lack of seats it made it very difficult to access much of the entertainment. Moving from one area to the other often meant not getting a seat in your target venue when you got there and then finding you had lost your original seat. We tried staying put in one area but there were significant 45 minute plus breaks between much of the entertainment and invariably meant you had to sit through something you were not interested in before something you had waited for came on. We are early fifties and found much of the entertainment on board inappropriate for our age group. Bingo, Sudoku, knitting and sexy legs competitions are not really things that appeal and quite frankly suggest a lack of imagination. The abundance of quizzes in the various bar areas was also of note and clearly suggests a “what can we do cheap and for minimal staff and resource input” approach to the entertainment schedule. One person a microphone and some poor quality slides are far from quality entertainment. In general the day activities had more in common with 1960’s Butlin’s than a luxury cruise experience. Some entertainment was aimed at relaxation, the pianist, a trio and the guitarist but for the most part with all the people jostling for seats and the constant noise of people milling around, talking and using the coffee bar etc. it was like trying to relax at London Victoria station. At no time during the cruise did we get a sense of peace and quiet unless we were in our room. Part way through the cruise we discovered the Sanctuary, then we discovered it was $40 to go in. Clearly Princess are aware of the lack of a relaxing atmosphere on ship as you have spotted an opportunity to cash in on the one option that exist to get some peace and relaxation. Overall much of the entertainment was good but where it mattered, mainly in the theatre and some of the key acts, it was poor. The Gala show was dire, I would like to say that was just my opinion but the resounding lack of applause confirmed otherwise. It was a lacklustre and discontinuous parade of poor quality cameos none of which was well received. In particular the magic was badly executed and lacked imagination with clumsy presentation leaving the audience in no doubt how it was done. The magician stands out for being particularly bad both in the gala show and his separate stage performances. Before his show in the Explorers bar he approached members of the audience about whether they would be willing to partake, in itself commendable, unfortunately when people declined he seem to take it as an affront and was quite rude to them so as to belittle them and infer it was their problem not his as he was superior anyway. I recall his words when someone declined along the lines of “if you had let me finish what I was saying” which is quite curt and easily construed as rude. Generally his act was poor dropping props and messing up tricks, most of which are available in any toy shop these days. The female comedienne was excessively coarse and I am far from being prudish, her act had the air of a working man’s club and at time bordered on inappropriate, mocking of people with physical and mental issues implied or otherwise is inexcusable and not humour. Crudeness is not necessary to make a good comedy act as the male comedian proved being both funny and entertaining without unnecessary toilet humour. Nearly all the entertainment in the Princess Theatre was mediocre and of only 30 minutes duration the longest show being the Gala show which lasted the billed 53 minutes which given the poor quality was one show that would have benefited from being shorter, 53 minutes shorter. The Princess Theatre gave the clearest indication of just how overcrowded the boat was for the provided facilities and entertainments as on more than one occasion we spoke to people who had been waiting >50minutes to guarantee a seat for 30 minute show. During the gala show there were people standing in the aisles and down the sides of the theatre which talking to other guests was repeated for the second show. Yet more guests we spoke to hadn’t seen either show as they were unable to access the theatre due to the lack of space. In addition the layout of the ship and the theatre meant that at the end of each show one half of the theatre streamed out through the Wheelhouse bar. This meant that if you had been lucky enough to snag a seat to enjoy some quieter time with one of the acts you were regularly interrupted by hundreds of people traipsing through the bar all in loud animated conversation. On a few evenings we tried to watch the films shown on the large screen. Once again this proved to be a less that satisfactory experience. The first night we managed to get two loungers and settled down to watch a film. Unfortunately we had to get straight back up again as the loungers are the same ones used by bathers during the day and are still wet. Now having wet clothes we managed to acquire some towels and spread them over the wet loungers. This helped but as we discovered on subsequent evenings it doesn’t take too long for the wet to penetrate up to 4 layers of towels. The routine soon became watch film, change clothes. On one evening we were not served, due to lack of staff available in the screen pool area, for around 3 hours. This also meant that during this time no tables were cleared and plates and old glasses were left on the small tables by the loungers. As like below decks, during the day somewhere to sit/lay was at a premium. We did note that towards the end of the cruise they announced that any unattended loungers would be cleared after 15 minutes not 30 minutes as previous so this clearly wasn’t just a perceived problem. Above decks, where you sat greatly influenced the level of service you obtained. It was not the fault of the staff but clearly they were overwhelmed by request before they even got to the higher decks or to the further extremes. Scheduling of above deck entertainment was poorly thought out with a band or discotheque playing in one area and a film in the other. The net result for many of the positions around the pools was that neither was clearly discernible and just resulted in an irritating cacophony of noise. We did notice that the above decks areas seem little utilised later in the evenings something that obviously pushed people downstairs into the overcrowded lounge areas. On a number of occasions staff cleaned the windows while guest were using the deck areas resulting not only in inconvenience but large wet areas that had to be negotiated and water trickling through the floor from higher sun decks. My wife and I took advantage of all the shore excursions which were of great variability in terms of quality and organisation. We were often surprised at the poor quality of some of the coaches often having dirty seats and curtains, chipped and cracked screens, non-working air conditioning and externally rusty with large holes and corrosion. Being told that the coach has a toilet but that we shouldn't use it as it doesn't really work that well is not really how we expected a tour to start. St Petersburg was most enjoyable with a competent and knowledgeable tour guide. At times it did feel like the tour had been padded to make it last longer as we visited some places twice, once for a look and photo opportunity and then again later in the day to visit a place of interest at the same location. Places visited appeared to be expecting us and we were efficiently and courteously processed in and out of the various buildings. This was in complete contrast to some of the other tours. In Denmark we were not expected at Kronborg and had to stand around like lost children while various discussions and arguments entailed about who would be responsible for us. In Sweden the guide was most condescending, talking to the guest like they were small children and then at lunch again they were not expecting us so we had to mill around in the street while they readied the tables. Eventually they let one of the ladies in so she could use the facilities before finally allowing us all in. Once we sat down we were presented with water that was a mix of sparkling and still as they tried to rapidly fill the jugs from both taps at the same time as they clearly were not ready to receive guest. In Tallinn the guided tour primarily comprised the guide walking us somewhere before inviting us to have a look around and then moving to the next spot. They did take us to the square for coffee and pastries and on arrival the guide extolled the beauty of the square particularly in the sunshine before cramming us all in the basement of an adjacent café where even the waiting staff were getting cross about the lack of space. Poland was the worst experience, the guide had very poor command of English and given a coach full of English speakers was a bad start. He then wore a loudspeaker on his chest which was useless as he proceeded to walk in front of us all broadcasting to any oncoming strangers but not to the group. The visit then moved on to Malbork Castle where the guide informed us we would have a new guide, this did result in a slightly uncharitable cheer from the coach. When we arrived at the castle our guide disappeared and returned with the new guide before regrettably informing us she only spoke Polish. We stopped for an agreeable lunch marred mainly by how tightly packed we were into the hall. Many people had to try and eat with one hand as it was nigh impossible to eat with two given the tightness with which we were seated. When it came to dining on the tours a feature that marred all dining (and some visits) was the bringing together of all tour groups at the same time in the same place. Whilst this is understandable from a catering and logistics point of view, when it comes to rest-room facilities it became a nightmare. On one occasion only having 3 unisex cubicles for around 300 people who have just been eating and drinking suggest a distinct lack of thought to the process. Given this was a feature rather than an exception using the toilet where possible became a fixation of most people on the tours thus detracting from the experience of the visited site. Post tours the return to the ship was often greeted by the inevitable queue to get back on board. In itself not unexpected but not helped by the often bored and discourteous manner of some staff in particular the security staff. In one instance my wife’s passage was blocked by an arm thrust in front of her by one of the security team without a word being spoken or even the benefit of eye contact. When she was finally allowed to proceed it was indicated by the am being removed, a grunt and a wave of the head. At no time did the member of staff acknowledge her, speak to her or even make eye contact. This was hardly the warmest or friendliest welcome back to the boat after a long hot day. Whilst it is appreciated that security is important and there is a need to scan items a part of that process, it was disconcerting to have to scrabble inside the scanner for items that were too light to push aside the screening mats. Often there were no trays to put smaller items in so this became a necessity on more than one occasion while the security team watched impassively. Overall the experience was not a good one. Generally we were left with the impression that the boat was overcrowded. Staff seemed to become less enthusiastic as the cruise wore on, perhaps due to more people than usual? Non restaurant dining was also marred by too many people and too few places to eat. Breakfast was a crowded affair with nowhere to sit and a jostle to get your food. Restaurant dining was spoiled by tepid food, poor seating and an endeavour to synchronise tables. Entertainment was inadequate in frequency and content and all venues overcrowded. The cruise often felt like a poorly run “Costa” package holiday geared primarily to maximise profit at the expense of the guest comfort and well-being. Living on the south coast we are aware of a growing trend to cater for pensioners and a decline in standards associated with that approach to a level perceived by the purveyor as “what they can get away with” as many pensioners have lower expectations of service and quality, this cruise certainly had many of those hallmarks. Given the costs of the total package, the content and quality of the cruise fell way below expectations and represented extremely poor value for money. The excursions were also for the most part of questionable value for money and sometimes felt like you were being taken for a ride figuratively as well as literally. We did take this up with Princess on our return and received a curt reply along the lines of "couldn't care less what you think". Given the package, with everything, cost was not inconsiderable it shows the level of disrespect Princess and Carnival have for their guest. Hope this helps others thinking of cruising for the first time, we certainly will not do it again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was my first cruise and after reading some of the reviews I was slightly worried- but to no avail - we both had an excellent time. The ship is beautifully maintained and spotlessly clean . The atrium was a relaxing place to have a ... Read More
This was my first cruise and after reading some of the reviews I was slightly worried- but to no avail - we both had an excellent time. The ship is beautifully maintained and spotlessly clean . The atrium was a relaxing place to have a coffee or evening cocktail. Despite the size of the ship , it never felt crowded and we were always able to find somewhere to sit and only once had to wait for a table in the restaurant. All the staff were courteous and the service throughout was good. Food was variable but more good than bad. The choice was good and the service prompt. The buffet was always busy but on the few times we used it we were always able to get a seat. We ate in a few of the supplement restaurants- would really recommend the Lime light club and the Beach House - not so keen on the Epicurean.( fun for the experience but wouldn't do it again) although the afternoon tea was lovely. Entertainment was varied - the shows in the main theatre weren't to our taste but to be fair a lot of the passengers loved them. We did however enjoy some of the invited guest - we saw an excellent classical guitarists and Darren Day was very funny. If you get a chance to see a lecture by ' Park' don't hesitate - the titles may sound a little dull but he was very entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture that I went to. Our cabin was great - despite the bathroom being small the shower was very roomy. People have moaned about the size of the balcony but we found it more than adequate . The beds were very comfy and the rooms were well sound proofed so we were never disturbed by noise from adjacent rooms or the corridor. Excursions were expensive but well organised - thoroughly recommend the gardens in Stravenger . (We did these in the pouring rain but it still couldn't lessen our enjoyment) The Land of the Trolls a must! Excellent excursions- beautiful and varied scenery - good lunch and a great day out. We paid for an excursions in Olden but there are several options you can do on your own. A land train took you on a lovely hours ride up the valley or you could get a bus to the glacier. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
although the cruise was good in many ways the one disappointment to my friend and I was the balcony!!! we paid over 1,600 each for an outside cabin with balcony HA! Canada deck 099 room ok, balcony what a let down no glass front like ... Read More
although the cruise was good in many ways the one disappointment to my friend and I was the balcony!!! we paid over 1,600 each for an outside cabin with balcony HA! Canada deck 099 room ok, balcony what a let down no glass front like all the others, overhead blocking out any sun the bridge, also to the left a huge stantion holding up the bridge and a large light fixture on the left hand corner, the front was filled in so no view whatsoever unless stood leaning over the front we did not get any info about this nor did we get a reduced price we also never got any on board spending so what an absolute let down considering the weather was so good we could have had lots of evening drinks on the balcony very very disappointed so if anyone is allocated c o99 BEWARE!!! but on the bright side staff and entertainment brill cabin steward Helison fantastic think next time however go with cunard Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
First time cruisers and it won't be the last. From the moment we stepped on the ship we were not disappointed. The staff were exceptional. They couldn't do enough for us. Cabin stewardess was great. Food was out of this world. ... Read More
First time cruisers and it won't be the last. From the moment we stepped on the ship we were not disappointed. The staff were exceptional. They couldn't do enough for us. Cabin stewardess was great. Food was out of this world. Didn't do the buffet as was a bit of a cattle market. The main restaurants where you were very well looked after and the food was first class were excellent. The speciality restaurants were out of this world. Plenty of entertainment and plenty of seated areas to relax. Didn't do any excursions. We chose do do our own thing. All in all it was a fantastic holiday. Don't be put off by the size of the ship you wouldn't know there was that many people on it. O and if you get the chance have a pamper session at the spa. The girls are so nice and they made us feel really welcome and relaxed. I'm so glad I have finally gone on a cruise and chosen p&o we will definitely do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Our first cruise and certainly won't be our last. Cannot fault the ship, everything kept spotlessly clean. The service was friendly and efficient. The cabin was spacious and cleaned twice a day. Didn't make much use of the ... Read More
Our first cruise and certainly won't be our last. Cannot fault the ship, everything kept spotlessly clean. The service was friendly and efficient. The cabin was spacious and cleaned twice a day. Didn't make much use of the balcony due to the poor weather but that is hardly the fault of P&O. We were upgraded to freedom dining which meant we could choose when and where to eat. The food was unbelievably good, especially so in the Sindhu & Epicurean restaurants both of which incurred a cover charge The entertainment was first class and Tom O'Connor was brilliant. Played table tennis everyday with a really good bunch of people. The only mild negative was the destination itinerary, La Rochelle was quite nice but didn't bother with Bilbao and the people who did weren't impressed but for us this was all about the cruise. We are already looking to book our next cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Only our second cruise having been on the Island Princess for a 12 night Mediterranean cruise last August so in comparison I'm afraid the Brittania cruise to the Norwegian Fiords fell a bit short. Embarkation and Debarkation was well ... Read More
Only our second cruise having been on the Island Princess for a 12 night Mediterranean cruise last August so in comparison I'm afraid the Brittania cruise to the Norwegian Fiords fell a bit short. Embarkation and Debarkation was well organised. Cabin was good and the entertainment was good and the food in the any time dining restaurant was lovely but the buffet food was dreary. Same food at all the stations and very limited variety. The food on the Island Princess was fantastic! I agree with others who say the Atrium areas was lacking in atmosphere as this was soulless and boring. Not enough variety of activities on board during the day but I liked the quizzes in Brody's Bar at night. Where is the giant screen for Movies Under the Stars? No free ice-cream and the burgers were terrible. Our cabin steward was friendly and generally all staff were pleasant. The shows were fabulous and we saw 3 different shows during the 7 night cruise. I am cruising again on the Brittania departing Southampton on 16th July on the Iberia cruise and have booked the Brittania for the Caribbean on 17th December 2016. Being a teacher the dates and destinations suited us but if I had travelled on this cruise earlier I would perhaps not have booked the Brittania again. Back to Princess cruises for us from now on because they offer more variety in buffet food and activities and more inviting pool areas. I hope the food situation is sorted out before our next cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I booked a cruise with my three young daughters for the four of us as a family holiday. Their first cruise and my second. This ship had been recommended by my dad who had been on it the year before. Positives : Pools, shows were ... Read More
I booked a cruise with my three young daughters for the four of us as a family holiday. Their first cruise and my second. This ship had been recommended by my dad who had been on it the year before. Positives : Pools, shows were excellent, service in some area's, Spa (expensive but good, get the hair treatment with a scalp massage, brilliant). I felt safe and let my children (age 14, 11 & 11) go off by themselves which was great. Check in and departure was a very smooth process. Gym was huge and moderm. Negatives : Guest Services were very unhelpful and looked fed up, two of my daughters burnt their hands in the Windjammer and they just said 'there are signs saying 'Caution' read them', very rude! Weather was very cold the entire time even though we went in June so limited as what to do. The Windjammer always had food on the floor, it was very dirty and the food was pretty much the same each night, however we did eat in the other restaurant some nights to break it up. Not enough healthy options to eat. The ports we stopped were Gijon, Bilbao, Cherbourg & Le Harve and to be honest there was nothing much at any port (nice beach at Bilbao) and they were selling tours to Paris Louvre which was closed because it was flooded, after it had flooded so I thought that was a bit naughty. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this cruise because it was recommended by a friend who did the same Baltic cruise last year. The Eclipse is a beautiful looking ship. The stateroom was good, and included a balcony. It was kept spotlessly clean. The toilet ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was recommended by a friend who did the same Baltic cruise last year. The Eclipse is a beautiful looking ship. The stateroom was good, and included a balcony. It was kept spotlessly clean. The toilet paper was horrible. The navigation lecture was excellent as was the glass blowing. The entertainment was excellent until the last night. The Beatles Tribute band were talented musicians but couldn't sing! We found the constant background music whilst on deck very irritating. All we wanted to do was read in peace. My husband found the Moonlight Sonata menu very repetitive. However, we thought that the food in the Ocean View Bar was very good. A major disappointment was the lack of a shuttle bus when we got to Stockholm. We queued for over an hour and got the 'hop on, hop off bus' and visited the ABBA Museum but we were so concerned about getting back to the ship on time after the worryingly late return from St Petersburg, (we got back five minutes before sailing) that we went straight back to the ship and didn't go anywhere else. We enjoyed the late night dancing in the Sky Lounge. The trip to Copenhagen was another disappointment. We saw the Little Mermaid and the Palace and whizzed past everything else. No chance to even get a decent photo of Hans Christian Anderson. Went to the Village of Dragor when we would rather have had time in the city. I went to a lecture in the beauty salon but the price of the facials was extortionate. I had a lovely facial before I came away from home and it cost £32.00. The salon wanted over £100! The shop prices were also extortionate. The service was very good. The cleaning staff were very friendly and any problems were dealt with straight away. The Captain gave a lecture and was incredibly knowledgeable, which was a comfort! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We were really impressed with Celebrity Eclipse for our first cruise. As mentioned, embarkation didnt go very well, but this was due to a technical glitch and they handled this well. The ship is beautiful, immaculately clean and ... Read More
We were really impressed with Celebrity Eclipse for our first cruise. As mentioned, embarkation didnt go very well, but this was due to a technical glitch and they handled this well. The ship is beautiful, immaculately clean and well maintained. People have said in other reviews that furniture looks tired, but this isn't something we noticed or were concerned by. We had an inside cabin because I was aware that there weren't going to be many hours of darkness in the more northerly parts of our cruise, and I like to sleep in total darkness. Despite being the cheapest 'stateroom,' it was spacious, clean and we were brilliantly looked after. The staff deserve special mention because throughout the ship, they worked so hard to ensure our comfort and satisfaction. Cleaning staff kept our room immaculate, turned down every night and even provided towel art on a few occasions. The waiters in the restaurant were a lot of fun and worked hard to look after us, and the 'Guest Services' department solved any problems we had. I thought the food was brilliant. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Ocean View buffet and felt the standard of food was very high. Yes, as others have mentioned, the norovirus meant the experience was slowed down a little, but I didn't feel this was excessive and the food was worth the wait. We ate almost every night in Moonlight Sonata (main dining room) and were very impressed. There was only one night that I was slightly disappointed with my dinner, and that was more because of my selection than the restaurant. As mentioned before, the waiters were great and we felt well looked after. We also had some on-board credit so we ate a Qsine one night which was just amazing. We loved the experimental style but that food quality wasn't compromised in trying to be quirky. We did buy a drinks package, which I know lots of people have said they weren't happy with. However, we felt we got our money's worth, and liked not having to think about the cost as we went along. We enjoyed some of the entertainment, but this was a mixed bag. The cast shows were poor, we didnt make it through 'chandelier,' and the rock show, whilst well done musically, seemed to be a chance for young performers to strut a lot, with little else by way of dancing or performing really. However, the violinist who was on during the first week was incredible, and we enjoyed the Russian dancing, and the Beatles tribute. I really enjoyed the lectures by the head chef, what a great opportunity, and the live music throughout the boat was of a very high standard. We didn't use celebrity excursions because they were very pricey. However, there was a local shuttle bus for a reasonable price in every port. We did use two celebrity excursions whilst in St Petersburg because there was no other way to see the city. The first excursion was terrible, but thankfully the second one made up for it. My only real disappointment was that someone else who went on the bad excursion ended up getting money back, but when we complained, we were told noone else had raised these concerns. I wasn't after money back, but wasn't impressed at being clearly lied to! Lots of people mention the constant 'upselling.' This definitely does happen, but actually we just ignored it and didn't find it overwhelming. Its not a 'hard sell,' they just mentioned things that were available, and although we chose not to buy into most of them, people we met along the way did, and they were glad those things were available. Agree the spa is overpriced, which is a big shame. From my visits to the USA, I think spa prices are generally much higher over there, and prices seem to be more in line with USA prices than UK prices. Disembarkation was incredible easy and well organised. Overall, a great experience. Great ports, and a lovely cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Background information This was me and my girlfriends first cruise together and we were majorly excited for this, mainly as this was my 30th Birthday as well so we hoped this would be a special holiday/vacation and for 95% of the time ... Read More
Background information This was me and my girlfriends first cruise together and we were majorly excited for this, mainly as this was my 30th Birthday as well so we hoped this would be a special holiday/vacation and for 95% of the time it was! More on that in a minute... Before we went on this cruise, my girlfriend was diagnosed with having Fibromyalgia so any variety of movement (walking, going up stairs, moving etc) was a challenge so she could do short bursts of movement before getting sore/tired/achey so I will also factor in accessibility into the equation FYI, this will be a detailed review as well (i.e. long one) so I will separate into sections like others have to make this easier to digest: - Embarkation day We were flying from Edinburgh to Southampton via Flybe on their Bombardier propeller planes - I am 6' 3" and a bit heavy built so I had my reservations about this plane however I will say that my fears were not founded at all, plenty of legroom even for my tree-trunk legs!! Slight turbulence on the way south but otherwise perfectly adequate flight, certainly more enjoyable than other "larger" planes I have been on. As a side note, the Special Assistance both through the Airports as well as Flybe were excellent and we now know anytime we go to an airport we will always request this - had we not done this, she would've been killed before even getting on the plane! If you have a Chronic Pain condition, I seriously recommend looking into Special Assistance if you can get it - if you put pride aside temporarily, it will help you out in leaps and bounds! Our flights and transfers were organised through Royal Caribbean (as per current promotion at the time) when we arrived at Southampton Airport, we were greeted by the Royal Caribbean rep who advised us what would happen, when and how. Very nice chap! Once everyone was accounted for, we boarded a bus and headed towards Southampton port - traffic that day was really busy compared to normal apparently but otherwise OK journey. Once we arrived at Southampton, we waited to be escorted through (my girlfriend is disabled so we were using Special Assistance to help us through, everyone was nice). We approached the desk, checked us in and after 15 minutes tops we were on board. One slight note was the woman at Southampton Port checking us in was very pushy with the whole credit card angle - me and my partner do not own (or want) a credit card and she was really pushing this agenda, which I found very odd!! It's like an Asda/Walmart clerk heavily pushing an Amex card on you for no good reason whatsoever - her face turned a funny shape when we advised we didn't own a credit card. Maybe I should've asked for a loan of hers!! The Ship Once we were onboard, we headed straight for Cafe Promenade for something to eat - was glad I did because seats were a bit of a challenge had I been 5-10 minutes later than I was (which is to be expected considering 3000+ guests trying to converge to the same location at the same time for the same reason!). The Royal Promenade was a nice touch, quite liked the layout of it, how everything is within spitting distance of each other (close but not too close). The shops, bars and Guest Services were all on Deck 5 however the speciality restaurants were spread out all over the place (Didn't even find Izumi until day 8 of the cruise as it was on the highest deck at the rear of the ship near the Cosmopolitan Bar - I'll have to remember for next time) We found the ship to generally be very good (we say this not as a negative reflection but purely because we have nothing to compare it to) in terms of navigating about, finding where places were and which end of the ship you had to be to get to the locations/cabins/restaurants etc. Once you orientate yourself (took me about 2 days) you get into a habit of knowing where to go and how to get there - if you forget then you can use the Digital Signs at both ends of the ship near the elevators to help you on your way. Despite my girlfriends mobility problems, getting about the ship was not too much of a problem and everything was within easy reach meaning she very rarely got tired or felt like she was pushing herself too much - plus we noticed others on scooters and other mobility devices so very accessible friendly in my opinion. In our experience, we did not find a problem using the elevators - some times like shows finishing or breakfast/dinner time (i.e. key busy periods) wait times were a tiny bit longer but you're on holiday so what's the rush? We weren't in a rush to get anywhere so we weren't overly bothered. My girlfriend found it particularly good using the elevators as well - plus the floor of each elevator had a plate with today's day on it that changed with each day that passed which was a cool wee touch! We thought the decor of the ship was really nice - I wouldn't use the word modern at all but at the same time it's not "Thy Quaintest Ye Olde Ship Hath Sailed These Waters" style either - just somewhere in the middle, wee nod here and a wee nod there in terms of styling so a good mix up of design over the ship I felt anyways. I like the design of the ship from the outside - weird thing to say however I did like the look and design of the ship from outside the ship (when she was docked in port) and she came out impressive when taking photos of her whilst in port! In regards to the restrooms onboard, they are at either side of each end of the ship, near the elevators (and Main Dining Room as well as Metropolis Theatre). This may be a new thing for me to adjust to however I found it slightly weird that in order to go the toilet/restroom when you are eating at a restaurant that none of the restaurants have a toilet/restroom within the actual restaurant itself - I think this may very well be a cruise ship thing but just a weird thing to adjust to personally so if it's your first time going on a cruise ship, be prepared to walk to a toilet if you need to! The ship itself is very clean - we always seen people cleaning the ship, keeping it in tip top condition regardless where we went. Top decks where the sun loungers were always had a space or three but for good reason - the weather didn't exactly permit for it!! However saying this we were thankful for the secluded Solarium on the day where the sun was out and was warm but the wind was so chilly it took away the warmth! The Solarium was one level below Top Deck and was secluded from any sidewinds so in a way was sheltered from the winds so it was warm within the Solarium - did not try the pool however heard it was cold so glad I didn't do that! We visited the NextCruise desk on Deck 6 aft and booked another cruise for December 2017 with the lovely Vitor Gomez (sales manager onboard and also the man who did the Lecture/Presentation about Alaska in the Metropolis lounge, where bingo was also held) but did not visit the Library or the Art gallery so nothing much else to report venue wise on the ship. Activities Every day there was activities on the ship - FlowRider, Rock Climbing Wall, Bingo, Films, Kids clubs, Crazy Golf, Sports Court as well as the Studio B Ice Rink and Metropolis Theatre. If anyone says there's nothing to do on the ship then the problem is with them and no-one else - I kept all the Cruise Compass papers and can easily show the breadth and scale of what you do on the ship. Yes there are activities that are chargeable however they only account a small selection of activities on offer (like less than 20% or so, no more than that) so it's really impossible to be bored on this ship. We did the Bingo (waste of money because I didn't win of course!), we also did the Royal Caribbean Next Cruise plug on Alaska (looked nice to go to!) and we also attended the theme nights at the Royal Promenade like 70's Party night so there was plenty to do on the ship and the Cruise Director Rob was a delight to watch - funny, witty and nice guy. Finally we even dabbled with Lady Luck at Casino Royale and, yet again, Lady Luck was nowhere to be found but I still had fun there regardless. Bit smoky but not too overpowering - however I did not miss having to smell cigarette smoke in any public place so a casino is somewhere I don't tend to visit often Service Having never been on a cruise before, I had nothing to compare this to (apart from on land Hotel and Restaurant service) and it is simply worlds apart - Everyone we spoke to was absolutely brilliant! Sylvain at Guest Services was an absolute joy to interact with and sorted out all our problems (we did have a few - I'll cover this at the end of this review). Dennis our Stateroom Attendant was excellent, helpful and always had a smile! Quite surprised his face didn't hurt after all that smiling but, all jokes aside, it just felt like they genuinely liked their job and wanted to help and make your holiday as enjoyable as they could make it. I will comment on the service in the restaurants within the Dining section but overall majority of people we spoke to were nice, happy to speak to us and very friendly! Port & shore excursions Le Havre - port was cancelled due to National French Strike (apparently Google advises this is a current past time of the working class French - go on strikes) so didn't go into France at all so this turned into a Spain and Portugal cruise itinerary!! Subsequently we did get a refund of port fees because of this so make sure if this happens to you that you get this as well, for any port cancellation Gijon - to quote Cruise Director Rob, the port looked like a deleted scene out of Prison Break. It was literally an industrial port near a petrochemical site and we were parked behind a cargo vessel loading copious amounts of sand into its cargo hold! At the customs/embarkation/disembarkation tent just at the port looked like a war zone checkpoint with armed guards getting confused and disorientated (and rightfully agitated) passengers into single file so that getting back on the ship was less stressful than it already was. Me and the missus were on Deck 5 Aft looking at the massive line of people under the watchful eye of the armed Policia Naçional (i think they were) and were quite grateful we weren't amongst them waiting to get on board! Lisbon - simply the best port in my personal opinion! Best day for weather (30° Celsius that day), best day for doing things. My only experience with the Shore Excursions desk was booking transfers to and from the drop off point in Lisbon. $7 pp return, which I found exceptionally reasonable as the buses were there every 30 minutes so definitely worth the $7 in my opinion. We then got on the Red Hop On/Hop Off tour bus for €20 per person for the Green Line that took us through the town, by the river. By the time it was finished 1hr 30mins had passed at which point we headed back to the ship. Out of the entire cruise, this was the best port visit in my opinion, the weather being the biggest factor to that decision - can't beat glorious sunshine! Plus we sailed out and was waived off by P&O Britannia and its crew/passengers which was a wee treat Vigo - this was a small port compared to Lisbon and it had a Shopping Mall within 50 metres or so from the port so not bad for doing a small spot of Retail Therapy! There is a Burger King there (seemed to be the only restaurant worth eating at - one of the local restaurants refused to serve anything outside the lunch menu for reasons he wasn't willing to disclose so we got up and got a Chicken Royale meal!!). It may have had good Shore Excursions but the weather was a bit cloudy so didn't want to risk getting caught in the rain so we went to the shopping mall, had a look around and then went back to the ship. La Coruna - weather was appalling, if anyone booked Shore Excursions on land that day they would have needed a canoe and a paddle it was that wet. This was a bonus port as when we originally booked this, it was meant to be an 8 night cruise however due to a berthing conflict at Southampton on Disembarkation day, Royal Caribbean added on an extra night at no extra cost so not getting off wasn't a deal breaker for us Cabin We were in an Interior Room with Virtual Balcony (Room Number 1587, Deck 10 midship) and this was an excellent choice. The room was adequately sized, the bathroom was plenty big enough and the Virtual Balcony itself was definitely the main reason I enjoyed the room. Also the Virtual Balcony room also played the sound of the ocean being captured by said camera so you got the full balcony experience even though you were in an interior room! There was 3 times the Virtual Balcony did not work, it simply froze up (unsure if it was due to loose wiring or faulty connections or software locking up) however it was fixed within 24 hours of reporting it so very happy with the room itself. Due to my unique size, I had to shower with the shower doors open to allow elbow room but apart from that it was a lovely room and would book it again no problem. I would rate it a solid 9.5 out of 10 Dining Windjammer Buffet - we ate here only a few times for lunch and primarily for breakfast however we were reminded daily why we didn't like the Windjammer, it was just too crowded, too chaotic and seating was rare! The quality of the food in the Windjammer was a bit "meh" to be honest - not to say it was rubbish, everything was totally edible borderline nice to have however it is a buffet and suffers the same problem all buffets have (stuff drying out, stuff running out, fresh stuff is pounced on immediately etc). We barely saw any wait staff whenever we were there - either they blended in with the crowds or were possibly helping out folk at the other end of the place from where we were sitting. I wasn't overly bothered because the place is a buffet and it performed like a buffet does - every man for themself and if you snooze you lose! Rating 7 out of 10 Cafe Promenade - we ate here a couple of times for snacks to go or to sit in (again if you were lucky to find a seat) and this was the place where you got your pizza fix as there is no Sorrento's on board Navigator, which I was slightly bummed out about but hardly a deal breaker. Pizza was always fresh, the sandwiches and wraps were lovely and the Ranger Coconut cookies were amazing!! I'd buy a crate's worth to go if I could they were that nice to me anyways! Also at Cafe Promenade is where you get your Starbucks fix as well as some Ben & Jerry's ice cream (no Caramel Chew Chew option, MAJORLY bummed out by that but quickly got over that as well). Rating 7.5 out of 10 Main Dining Room - we had pre-paid gratuities before going on the cruise and therefore opted for the My Time Dining option. Initially we didn't eat there primarily because we were too busy trying either the Speciality restaurants or the Windjammer buffet. However our service at the Sapphire Main Dining Room was exceptional! If I could rewind the cruise and eat here every day and not do one Speciality restaurant then I would've been happy with the Main Dining Room - they offered Steak and/or Lobster (which came from Chops Grille so you knew the quality of the product) and why bother paying $35-$40 per person for a steak dinner when you could spend half that and get the money maker (Filet Mignon) cooked to your liking and then to be served by (what would end up becoming) your favourite waiters! Massive shout out to Eri and Bobie, they are the reason I LOVED dinner time and I have to admit, from sit down to finishing up the whole dinner can be had within 30 minutes if you wanted however there was no rush! Plus everything was tickety boo and ran like a well oiled machine. The most impressive part of the whole cruise was that Main Dining Room and the lovely men and women who serve and work there. Rating 10 out of 10 Chops Grille - Excellent dinner (wished I ordered extra portions of the starter!) and lovely service from our waiter Rohan. Decor was dark and warm with ideal seating by the window offering a great view! I had the Black Pepper Bacon starter followed by the Porterhouse entree with creamed corn, cheesy tater tots and mashed potato, followed by birthday cake and Red Velvet cake - was utterly wonderful! Word of caution regarding their drinks offering, the cocktail Citroniti was like moonshine in a Martini glass so hope you don't smoke if you intend on drinking this otherwise lighting up a cigarette could possibly put your face on fire!! They took the drink back and did not charge me, which I found was really nice - no chance of that happening at a land based restaurant that's for sure! Rating 9 out of 10 Sabor - The freshly made guacamole blew my mind both being made in front of me as well as the taste of it, it has totally ruined guacamole I get back home now! The waiter we had (can't remember his name) was very funny and full of charm as well as being very attentive. I had a very tasty starter of Chicken Stuffed Jalapeños, followed by the Pollo Picante Chicken Tacos however I was underwhelmed by the dessert. It was rather bland and tasteless - not what I envisioned to have after having the flavour sensation of the starter and entrée. I also had a cocktail called The Smoky and it honestly tasted like Laphroaig Whisky - essentially liquid tobacco with a horrible smoky/peaty after taste, ended up handing it back and getting a Sol beer which was MUCH nicer! They took it back without charging me so that was nice. Rating 8 out of 10 Giovanni's Table - Lovely lunch, not a fault with it. Lovely decor with lovely seating by the window offering a great view (similar to Chops Grille in it's layout - primarily because it's directly opposite Chops Grille just by the entrance to Windjammer and therefore having a similar floor plan/layout). I had the Veal Meatballs and Foccacia Margherita for the starter, the utterly divine Lasagne for the entrée and then the options of Cannoli and Tiramisu for dessert. All were lovely although slight observation about the desserts was that the Tiramisu wasn't as chilled as I would have liked it and the cannoli shells were a bit chewier than I would have liked. Even still this was the nicest lunch I had during the entire cruise. I wasn't adventurous with the drinks this time, instead opting for some soda as per my soda beverage package. Rating was 9 out of 10 Johnny Rockets - We went here once for lunch on my birthday and for me it was nice but something I would only visit once during my time on the ship, any more than once would encourage a heart attack to come on prematurely!! I opted for the Smoke House Burger that had onion rings and BBQ sauce along with french fries followed by their legendary Malt Shakes, which was the nicest shake I've ever tasted. Burger was a bit greasy however I do like a greasy burger (hence can only do that one time!). Pro-tip in case you don't know, at Johnny Rockets it is a speciality restaurant (i.e. chargeable) however included within your charge is your soft drinks which are refillable so if you didn't purchase a drinks package you need not fret about the cost of soda at this restaurant. Rating 8.5 out of 10 Izumi - N/A due to the fact that I did not find this until Day 8 of our cruise when were wanting to look at the onboard chapel and right there slightly beyond the Cosmopolitan Bar was Izumi. Next time I go on Navigator, I'll make a point of trying her out! Bars Schooners Bar - We went there once and was watching some comic on the piano and he was pretty funny. He then called someone up to play the piano and the fella called his bluff and ended up playing a really good tune that night. Was OK but we didn't fancy sitting around it, looked a bit old fashioned for our liking but others seemed to love the nautical theme about it R Bar - we sat here for cocktails on a couple of nights and found the cocktails to be nice. They primarily did $10 and $12 cocktails and the waiters did come round asking for orders at your seats which I found to be nice. Seats were nice, if you could get one at night, and spacing was OK as well Boleros - this bar we only tried once as it was always mobbed, the seats always taken, there was a line there all the time. Either it was a hot spot that I wasn't aware of or they did a special drink I wasn't aware of - plus this is where you unleashed your samba style and moves on the dance floor in front of the house band as well. Nice place to be at if the seats were free Cosmopolitan Club - if my memory serves me right, this used to be the Viking Crown bar lounge area, Deck 14 aft. Lovely club with lovely views (I believe there is an entrance to the Diamond/Concierge lounge here as well) and the cocktails here were excellent and bar men were great! Our favourite bar on the whole ship! Children's clubs - Me and the missus don't have any kids that we know of (and if we did they weren't on the cruise with us!) so marking this as N/A due to not having any Entertainment - We watched the 70's Disco Show (can't remember the title of it) performed by singers Giovanni & Whitney from Florida and they put on a sensational show in my opinion, very talented singers. They certainly had a hard time convincing moody english travellers to join in with the singing along however despite this they were professional and excellent to watch. Whitney in particular dedicated her final performance of that show to her late mother by singing I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston - excellent performance! We then watched Gary Lovini play the violin to some popular music songs and incorporated the mix of American and British by playing American and British classical numbers. He came up and down the aisles playing close to the audience to allow for photos close up which I thought was very nice! The last night involved some dude on a BMX bike (can't remember his name) however his control of it was phenomenal so hats off to him! And to round it off, and in my opinion the best entertainment showing, was the Ice Show at Studio B so pay attention to the Cruise Compass to see when you go as they know it's a highly demanded show to go to so they organise it by Muster Station location (this can be found on the right hand side of your SeaPass Card - for example, mine's was D6) so keep your eyes peeled for this Disembarkation - Was relatively painless, I asked a Royal Caribbean rep on the ship to help me locate those who are helping those that require Special Assistance. They helped my partner through the port and to the bus. We then rode the bus to Southampton airport in plenty of time - we even got into the Priority Lounge for free due to a system issue meaning the person couldn't take cash for payment so result!! But even still, the Airport Lounge is definitely worth it - peace and quiet for the trip is priceless. Boarded the plane and flew home without any problems at all so really smooth process getting home at a reasonable time. Observations/Niggles - Before I give my summary on the whole cruise I do wish to pass on some observations and niggles I encountered on my trips (and I score that as a percentage of 5% so despite these niggles I fully enjoyed my cruise!) - As it was my 30th, my girlfriend went to the bother of pre-purchasing a 4 pack of Red Velvet cupcakes on Royal Caribbean's website so that they would be dropped off at my stateroom in the morning as a surprise for my big 3-0. 8am been and went with no arrival - she then called Guest Services who then transferred her to the team that deal with these requests who told her she needs to give 2 weeks notice for these requests (which she hadn't done however both the Royal Caribbean website and a subsequent phone call to a Royal Caribbean agent after purchasing this did not make her aware of this). She then went to speak to Sylvain at Guest Services who was very apologetic and able to sort something out and, within 15 minutes of this conversation, Red Velvet cupcakes that were pre-packed (read probably on a shelf somewhere as stock for selling to passengers) magically appeared out of nowhere. We were more interested in the resolution however we felt this shouldn't have happened as it was a basic request that required minimal logistical effort to implement but otherwise in the grand scheme of things not a catastrophe by any means - The only times where I personally would consider the service received by me to be classed as a mulligan was at the Boleros Bar and one of the Guest Services staff members - he had a pretentious and slightly condescending attitude (probably mystified as to why I had the audacity to come onto a cruise ship without a credit card) and the woman at Boleros Bar looked about as a fed up as the passengers at Gijon! So apart from those 2 one time interactions, Service generally speaking was excellent. - Another niggle I found was the lack of Freestyle Coca Cola Machines on the ship - having to queue at bars for a soft drink was a bit of an annoyance and availability of certain drinks varied from one bar to another and from deck to deck. For instance, Fanta wasn't available at Cafe Promenade but was available at Two Poets Pub. Canada Dry Ginger Ale was only available at Two Poets pub and Coca Cola Zero was varied day to day and bar to bar so it was your donald duck (down to luck) which brand of soda you were drinking each day so I felt that inconsistency was a bit of an annoyance - The biggest full on complaint I had was with the Spa onboard. I opted for a Bamboo Body Massage (which ain't cheap to me) seen as how it was a special occasion the massage part was nice and enjoyed that. The masseuse went to get a cup of water and then after 5 minutes she came in with literally the back catalogue of Elemis SpaHome products and cue the hard sell!! I was sitting there utterly flabbergasted at what was happening in front of me and, being the wimp I am, I caved in and bought the dry brush just to keep her relatively content. Lesson learned for me is to NEVER step foot into the Spa ever again, almost going to contest the gratuity for the treatment but I wasn't going to allow that to ruin my birthday so it was an expensive mistake I learned that day! - Finally, the VOOM internet is apparently fleet wide (i.e. on ALL Royal Caribbean ships) however the VOOM internet was utterly pathetic on Navigator - so much so I ended up cancelling the package on Day 2 of the cruise as regardless where I was the download speed did not go above 0.5mbps. In the stateroom, Royal Promenade, Johnny Rockets and on Top Lounging deck was the same result. After speaking with Guest Services about the matter, they simply offered to cancel the package and refund the cost of it to my stateroom account which I accepted. Pro Tip, majorly test that internet package in the first 24-36 hours of boarding the ship because if it's unacceptable to you, the longer you leave it you won't then be able to cancel it and get a refund like I did so be on the ball about that one! One thing I would like to see, perhaps for those of us using Apple or Android devices, would be to update the Royal IQ app (currently only available to Quantum class ships and Harmony of the Seas) so that you can select your destination on the ship and then the app will direct you like Google Maps Walking directions does and you can follow your app's instructions (Turn Left, get on this next elevator, go up the stairs by the bar etc) along with a diagram showing you how to get there. I've sent this onto Royal Caribbean, whether this will happen or not is another matter but we shall see! Summary - Overall I loved this cruise and wouldn't mind going back on the ship again. I would just hope that the VOOM internet and Freestyle Coke machines to be installed and I would be a happy camper but I'm knitpicking now. If you book a cruise on this ship, you won't be disappointed - just avoid the spa unless you're getting a complimentary treatment!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
cruise holidays I was very very disappointed...everything went wrong.... - staff on reception very unprofessional, miserable, unfriendly and unhelpful staff ( dont know why they are there?!) - cruise with no tv licence????? ... Read More
cruise holidays I was very very disappointed...everything went wrong.... - staff on reception very unprofessional, miserable, unfriendly and unhelpful staff ( dont know why they are there?!) - cruise with no tv licence????? -every tv series had only 2 episodes???? - Pay for internet??? every holidays we went to.. the internet is free of charge...but not on britannia....?! -pay for coffees, teas and ice cream??? free of charge on royal Caribbean cruise - day time entertainment very poor...5 quizzes join the day whats that all about ??? pool entertainment "pool quiz" wohooo very exciting...dont forget to mention pianist who sent people to bed !!!! -buffet food horrible....on Italian day we had lasagna, pasta and garlic bread nothing else...and they called it " Italian day" -our sitting time was 8.30pm we missed nearly every show as the show time join the night was at 7.30pm or 9.30pm and you have to be in theater least 40 mins before the show will start otherwise you wont have a seat !!!!! -we went to see kiki dee cost us £22 waist of money as everyone in a room was asleep..... she was very boring and the night didn't have soul.... - had to pay for a shuffle bus....free of charge on royal Caribbean -every port we went was terrible...apart from Lisbon -morocco was one of our ports never ever again!!!! we were followed by 3 people every where we went and felt so uncomfortable.... the night before we came to marocco we received a letter saying that it was dangerous and we need to stay in a groups?! why would you got there when you know its dangerous?! - another port was grand cannaria but they had a bank holiday and every shop was closed....waste of another day that was.... - shops on a board are bad... not enough choices....and quiet expensive!!! -cant see your bill on a tv you have to go to reception and ask for it every other day just encase they will charged you extra for something you never had or never used!!! -spa so expensive - our cabin was very small and didn't have enough space for 2 people....especially bathroom area where me and my partner proper struggled as only one person could fit in a bathroom and me being pregnant lady i found it very hard and didnt have enough space to move -lifts were a problem for some people never knew where they or the lifts were going -the only one good thing was night show but than every show was only for 45 mins Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We wanted to go on the Britannia as it looked so British and she lived up to all we expected and more, cabin with balcony was great you need this for a 2 week cruise. Stewardess to our cabin was always on hand and such a lovely happy ... Read More
We wanted to go on the Britannia as it looked so British and she lived up to all we expected and more, cabin with balcony was great you need this for a 2 week cruise. Stewardess to our cabin was always on hand and such a lovely happy person lovely to see her every day and looked after our cabin with a great deal of attention. waiting staff in the restaurants were very polite at professional with a great sense of humour the very thing us British like, we used the Peninsula Restaurant most night as we got to know waiters Andrew & Flemis who look after us way beyond the call of duty plus a sign presentation of menus covering all the nights of the cruise, well done to you two you made our cruise and not forgetting our wine waiter true to his profession we had some great wines. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Always wanted to do a cruise never again, though we have been told we was very very unlucky, it was like an old peoples home age range between 75-100 no I'm not kidding, I like old people but wouldn't choose to be surrounded by ... Read More
Always wanted to do a cruise never again, though we have been told we was very very unlucky, it was like an old peoples home age range between 75-100 no I'm not kidding, I like old people but wouldn't choose to be surrounded by 1000s on holiday, even the old people complained it was like a depressing old people home. The entertainment was poor cheap, and once again for the elderly, no wifi unless you wanted to pay £85 for 2 weeks, the pools are very small also I was looking forward to being on deck listening to the sea and reading a book, but oh no loud music all day once again for the elderly, we was on A deck and woken some morning at 6am with noise from the deck above while it was being cleaned. Food was good, and service excellent also cabin maid excellent. It's worth trying the independent restaurants for an extra £15 per person very good value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
For our Wedding Anniversary we decided to do something special and choose the Fred Olsen cruise "Easter Ireland" and booked a Premier Suite. We could not fault anything (perhaps apart from some of the weather - not in Fred ... Read More
For our Wedding Anniversary we decided to do something special and choose the Fred Olsen cruise "Easter Ireland" and booked a Premier Suite. We could not fault anything (perhaps apart from some of the weather - not in Fred Olsen's control!). As it was our 40th Anniversary we were given the complimentary anniversary package of sparkling wine, flowers, cake, card, portrait photo and gift. During the cruise it was also my birthday so we were slightly embarrassed when a cake was brought to our table on the Friday for my birthday together with the table staff serenading me and the next day another cake and serenade for our anniversary. The staff were superb and could not do enough for us. We asked if the anniversary cake could be packaged to take home to share with family and they made a special box for it and wrapped it with ribbon. The staff soon learned our names and we were often called "Sir, John and Madam, Jennifer". The food was superb both in choice, presentation and cooking. Most evenings we only managed three of the five courses due to the quantity. The ports of call were Belfast, Dublin (two days) and Cobn. All of which were interesting and we went independently rather than take the organised tours. We are not night owls and in Dublin managed to find a pub (Oliver St. John Gogerty) which had live Irish music during the afternoon. The evening shows were very good but I much preferred the live music from the string trio and pianist/singer in the small lounges. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Having read the awful reviews (stained carpets, bad smells, duct tape, bad food) I was really worried about my first ever cruise on Oceana. In fact it is the most beautiful ship- our cabin B753 was spacious, perfect unstained carpet, ... Read More
Having read the awful reviews (stained carpets, bad smells, duct tape, bad food) I was really worried about my first ever cruise on Oceana. In fact it is the most beautiful ship- our cabin B753 was spacious, perfect unstained carpet, granite work surface on mirrored wet bar, comfortable beds, lovely bathroom, loads of storage space, big balcony overlooking the wake. We had freedom dining in the Ligurian restaurant - the food was wonderful especially the lobster. The staff couldn't have done more to make our stay perfect- My 12 year old daughter got a taste for room service and they were quite happy to deliver spaghetti bolognaise at 10.30 at night. The entertainment (apart from the headliners) was wonderful and there was always space whether it was in the gym, the pools or the 2 theatres. We had a wonderful time- I cannot fault it (all this was despite the force 11 storm Katie which raged on the first day!) Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Our first cruise and we were very disappointed with the service , really terrible, the ship and the food brillant but the service was terrible and it really let P&O 's reputation down. This morning the service at the Penisular the ... Read More
Our first cruise and we were very disappointed with the service , really terrible, the ship and the food brillant but the service was terrible and it really let P&O 's reputation down. This morning the service at the Penisular the waiters were so unhelpful and they were so ignorant , really really bad! I have got nine years travel experience and I have thought highly of P&O thinking it usually it's a five star but it was more like a three star . My mum and dad have been on cruises before and they said this was the worst! My Mother in law also came with us and she travelled with Thomson's and she said Thomson's was much better. Waiting this morning to come home we were treated like cattle , queueing . Why do we aka us British people put up with it and why should we ? Also there was hen and stag do's on there which kind of lowered the tone of the cruise also . I would never go on a P&O cruise again and I would never travel with a British cruise company again . American's deliver the best customer service and they won't put up with bad service like queueing and having to ask for a refill of tea and coffee etc , that should be part of the amazing service of a 5 star company !!! The waiter actually tutted when we asked for a refill and he leant across my Mum to give us a glass of orange juice , we also asked for a jug of water this morning and was told this was not possible only glasses. I have never complained about bad service but i really do feel P&O do need to listen to their customers and work on this feedback . We did wonder if P&O have just shipped in temp staff so that the normal Staff would have time off as the 14 night Ant and Dec Saturday night takeaway trip Today . It was just awful!!! A lot of people like us tried this cruise as a taster cruise to see if they liked it , I can't see the conversion rate being high after today's / this weekends terrible service . Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was a taster weekend to Bruges Brussels however the port was changed to Le Harve in France due to the terrorist attacks. We understood this but there is nothing to do in Le Harve and it was a terrible choice of port. Embarkation ... Read More
This was a taster weekend to Bruges Brussels however the port was changed to Le Harve in France due to the terrorist attacks. We understood this but there is nothing to do in Le Harve and it was a terrible choice of port. Embarkation - nightmare absolute nightmare we travelled as a family and were told we could board together, not so the check in staff were utterly rude to us really upsetting my elderly mum. Insisting she either board or wait another 3 hours until we were allowed to board. I found it all to be madness we booked this trip in August 2015 and to be told we could board at3.30 was disgraceful especially as we paid to upgrade our room to a cabin suite. Once boarding our luggage didn't arrive until 6:30pm so we couldn't make use of the swimming pool we were sent the wrong luggage labels and the cases went to another room! No apology here either, as first time cruisers we didn't check the luggage tags they sent us to our boarding card why would we! Once aboard service was slow waiting 45mins for drinks, half of the facilities were closed and only one jacuzzi open to the whole ship!! Unless of course you paid £25 each extra for the retreat! Erm who is prepared to pay this when we have paid £650 already for a weekend taster !! Disembarkation was like a cattle market no staff visibility people pushing in all over the place! It was awful and never been treated so bad from a tourist company. Expected more from P&O ship is beautiful but that is nothing with shoddy rude service and lack of ownership !! I would warn all people who are considering parting with their cash to think booking with another company Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was a taster cruise and as such was fairly inexpensive. You would expect however that this would be a chance to impress potential new customers. Couldn't have been further from the truth for us. We experienced 2 days of ... Read More
This was a taster cruise and as such was fairly inexpensive. You would expect however that this would be a chance to impress potential new customers. Couldn't have been further from the truth for us. We experienced 2 days of queuing, lacklustre service, poor communications, poor to non-existent entertainment and borderline incompetence. At our emergency muster, when we eventually got on board having been treated like cattle during embarkation, they didn't even explain how to put the children's life jackets on which were very different from the adults. Its our first cruise experience and we where flabbergasted at how low rent was. If your on a hen or stag do or just want to sit doing nothing but stuff your face in a canteen all day then it ideal. The ship is a huge, bland, poorly designed block of flats with no heart or soul. We where very glad to get home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have just returned from a 2 night "Taster" cruise that was originally booked for Bruges, however due to the recent attacks, the destination changed to Le-Harve. This was OK with us as it was more about what holiday life on a ... Read More
We have just returned from a 2 night "Taster" cruise that was originally booked for Bruges, however due to the recent attacks, the destination changed to Le-Harve. This was OK with us as it was more about what holiday life on a ship would be like as this was our first cruise experience before we think about booking a longer 2 or 3 week holiday. On the back of this experience, I would not return to P&O. As with a lot of other passengers, we were considering booking a cruise as our main holiday and thought this would be a good way to try things out. Although the ship itself is great, clean, plenty of space in public areas, the whole experience from check in to disembarkation was one of the worst examples of customer service and service delivery I have experienced. Check in staff - Can’t recall one of them cracking a smile. When you board and go through security, our cards were snatched out of our hands before we could present them and then were pointed to a queue to join with as little enthusiasm and engagement as possible. Its difficult to give further examples of the poor service level as there simply wasn’t any. Remember, this is supposed to be a taster cruise.... a chance to sell and promote a product and this is the first experience we have. Once on-board, the experience continues in the restaurants. Waiting staff simply looked borderline angry, little dialogue, interaction, recommendations. I asked for a jug of water and was told "No....is not possible” before I could respond...he had turned his back and walked away. When asking for a clean cup, the waiter gave a long sigh followed by him walking away again with no idea if her was coming back. a short time later, he returned with a cup and just put it on the table....no dialogue, no interaction, no eye contact. They would be better placed in some kind of zombie movie, as Oscars would be a guarantee. Waiting time for drinks - gave up, and asked if we could order drinks and actually have a look at a menu as none on table. Again, remember...taster cruise....a chance to sell and promote a product. As for checkout - carnage. a 200+ queue to exit that had no organisation - people joining the queue wherever rather than the back, people jumping the cornered off areas whilst staff just stood there presumably rehearsing for the upcoming part in P&O Zombie "Apocalypse at sea" movie. Its such a shame as the Britannia as a ship is large, quality finished ship. The rooms are good and the beds are very comfortable. The whole experience is let down by those on shift over this last weekend. I am not sure if the tie in with Ant and Dec's Saturday Takeaway is part of the problem, in any case, as a paying customer, it shouldn't matter as part of customer service is delivering this in a reliable and predictable manner. We will not be booking P&O Cruises again and encourage others to avoid at least until some explanation comes from P&O to explain or justify such as poor delivery of there product. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food ... Read More
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food and wine, sightseeing and relaxing on holiday. We travel anywhere from traditional Spanish resorts, to Bali and Malaysia and skiing. Here's a list of what we thought. Travelling from and to Southampton was brilliant. There was a wait of around an hour to get on the ship, but so easy once checked in. We used the recommended car parking company and it was so simple, like meet and great. We chose self disembarkation. This is not really explained well, but basically means you leave before 8.45 in the morning. I.e. Before the hoards of people enter the massive luggage claim area to try and locate their luggage. Breakfast is best in the main restaurants, but only served to 9 on port days and 9.30 on sea days. The buffet is ok for breakfast, but of lower quality. I'd avoid the buffet at any other time, it's ok but there are so many better places. Not a lot was explained to you. Being a new cruising puts you in the minority. Thus, ask, read the horizon guide each night and explore the ship fully in your first day or so. We found food in the main restaurant bland other than on gala nights. They are catering for a mass market after all. It was very good, but needed seasoning, herbs, spices etc. The additional paid for restaurants are wonderful, and good value. Yes, you can eat for no extra cost, but for a feeling of going out for a meal, they are great. Service is quality and there is not the noise and bustle of a mass catering environment. The glass house is fabulous, a must try. They do wine flights, 3 x 125ml wines for around £10 or £11. Lots of different ones to try. The tapas plates are brilliant. Sihdu was also very good, with scallops and lobster on the menu. The beach house is a great American BBQ style, and excellent value. You get more generous portions in the paid for restaurants. Note, the glass house do a tasting menu with wine paring for £30 a head. This is something not advertised until the day before in the horizon magazine. However, all regular cruisers know about it, as they rush to reception to book as soon as they get on board. I don't blame them, but unfair of P and O not to advertise in advance so us new people can also get a chance to try. Other restaurants and events are easily booked on board, and some you can't book anyway. We never had a problem. Good tip, the glass house serves food till 10.30 ish, an hour after all other restauarants. There is so much entertainment, you have to pick what you want to do. Most is duplicated in the evening, at 8.30 and 10.30, which for us seemed too early to have finished dinner then go, and too late to always go after dinner. However, most things last 45 mins to an hour. Have a run around on the first night or two and work out what you like. We like live bands and music more than the shows, so planned accordingly. The live bands were very very good. There were two comedians on our cruise. One was brilliant, the other ( who has been doing the cruises since i was born) was awful, clearly the material is getting a little tired. Cabin (balcony) was bigger than I expected. However, it had a sense of the hospital room about it. Wiped down walls, plastic moulded work tops, bad pictures on the wall. The bed was comfy. The to was awful. News channel and that was it. Loads of films to watch but the to was so bad, the picture and sound was not good. There is free room service, which is good quality and fairly speedy to arrive. Shower is powerful. There is a full size bottle of white company shower gel attached to the wall, plus 100ml size of white company shampoo, conditioner and lotion. I'm sure you can ask for more if needed. The ship itself was impressive due to size. Some public areas were canteen like or reminded me of bars in Benidorm hotels. Other areas more elegant, such as the glass house, art gallery and metropolis bar. Something for everyone so you just find what you like. Getting on and off the ship was easy. We experienced a queue only when you had to use the shuttle bus, but it was only 20 minutes or so. Going from Southampton means you can take on drinks etc with you and keep in your fridge, just top up at each port. Drinks on board we brilliant. Extremely good wine list and all low prices, cheaper than in the uk. About £17 gets you a great bottle and most were in that region, rather than one or two then loads at higher prices. Cocktails about £5.50 to £6.50. The vast majority of men are in black bow tie for gala night. I dont think I saw a standard suit. However, there are areas you can dress casual ( the buffet). At other times though, this is not a posh ship. You get the odd one or two people who do dress up every night, but most people are casual or wearing what you'd expect for a normal meal out somewhere. Pools are all heated, which is fab. The two in the middle were usually busy and noisy. The adult only was closed the whole time we were on board, which is disappointing. There is a big mix of people. Apologies if I offend any regular visitors here, but I want to be honest. There are a lot of very old people, who would not look too out of place in a care home ( a cruise is cheaper), there are a lot of people who are less able (both medically and die to size), which could be due to being no fly. There were a few families and kids were all well behaved. Couples like us were in the minority, with most resembling our parents (daily mail in one hand, free glass of prossecco in the other). Spa treatments were good, but overpriced compared to uk, and come with a heavy sales pitch to buy products and Botox. Excursions were overpriced compared to what you get in port, but come with the safety net of not missing the ship. If the shuttle is paid for, generally means you don't need to use it unless you fall into one of the categories I've described above. I thought bingo and the race night were pricey ( no, not our usual sort of thing, but we'd thought we'd try it, especially with a last minute extra sea day due to rough weather). Every member of staff is brilliant. Genuinely helpful and happy. Not pushing for tips. Always there to offer you a drink or help, but not pushy. A real asset to P and O. Everything is cash free. You can even gamble and charge to your room ( dangerous). You cannot add tips on to any bill, so would need cash. That said, we saw zero people tipping. We decided to in the paid for restaurants though. The gym is large, but the equipment is not great quality. Runners were about usable. Cross trainers very light weight. It was also very hot! Overall, we loved visiting several cities we wouldn't have gone to otherwise in one holiday. It's wonderful to arrive in the port, go on a ( self organised) walking tour, stop for lunch, then hop back on the boat. Being on the ship was relaxing in itself, as you can't go anyway so just sit back and relax. The good and drink was excellent, which we like. The entertainment was great. People watching may not have been exactly what I was expecting, but it's good to know cruising is not always a stuck up affair. We will do a cruise again, and would use p and o and other similar lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an ... Read More
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an accident and ended up in a wheelchair for the weekend! The food and service for the whole duration, was second to none, and the prices were more than reasonable. Our check in was swift and slick, and nothing was too much trouble for our cabin steward. I stayed in a balcony room (5th deck, I think) and it was immaculate from start to finish. Didn't go ashore in Bruges, as I've been there before. Still, plenty to do on board. Disembarkation was smooth, and the food was excellent! It shows that the ship has undergone a major refurb since 2013, and I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We wanted to complete Norway and the Northern Lights for sometime and after looking at various options we decided on a cruise aboard the Oriana would probably be the best solution. We are very independent travellers, and had some ... Read More
We wanted to complete Norway and the Northern Lights for sometime and after looking at various options we decided on a cruise aboard the Oriana would probably be the best solution. We are very independent travellers, and had some reservations but thought a new experience would be a good idea - especially to get to the Arctic Circle. The ship in general was fine, although we were delayed for 5 hours leaving Southampton and we lost all electrical power for 10 minutes on leaving Flam. In the dining room we often had a really bad 'vibration issue' on some nights from the engines or props - not a ship expert but it seemed to be directly under our table in the Oriental. Sindhu was very good, and we liked the Crows Nest and Andersons. We had 8:30 dining and the food and service was excellent. The ports of call were; Stavangar - Nice town, we did our own thing and explored the town and museums. Tromso - Not long enough and a pretty poor tour by coach which was rushed Alta - Saw Northern Lights from back of boat in Alta, did not book the expensive P & O Northern Lights Tour as we though we would see them from the boat - and we did. Flam - Spectacular location took the Norway in a Nutshell tour and overall good - just too many people - not something we are used to. Overall fantastic scenery with lots of snow covered mountains and fjords. Bad outbreak of flu on-board which affected many people and for our last few days we were both very ill. I suppose when you have nearly 3000 people confined within a small area it was bound to happen. You do not have the freedom 'normal' holidays offer and you only get a 'taster' of each location. For Northern Norway it was fine for us, but I would not go on another cruise, its just not for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016

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