2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise as it was our first and the destinations were places we wanted to visit. We missed embarkation photos etc. as the bus was late. The ship was very nice but a little tired. Getting around was extremely confusing and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was our first and the destinations were places we wanted to visit. We missed embarkation photos etc. as the bus was late. The ship was very nice but a little tired. Getting around was extremely confusing and we found our way round with more help from other passengers than the staff. There could have been clearer sign posting. The dining rooms were excellent, the waiting staff were very efficient and friendly (Joseph and Manesh). The buffet food wasn’t particularly great. The breakfasts were nice but the main meals we attended were a little disappointing. We thought the entertainment would be better but it was focused on Strictly Come Dancing which we weren’t that in to. The daytime entertainment consisted mainly of dance classes and yoga etc. It would have been nice to have movies indoors or more actual entertainment and shows. We can’t fault the service. The staff were friendly and attentive. We had particularly good service from our cabin steward (Manoj) and the photographic team. The shore excursions involved more walking than we expected and we were disappointed with them. We would definitely go on another P&O cruise as overall we had a great time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We went on the Ventura specifically for the Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise from Southampton around the Mediterranean on 2nd June. We thoroughly enjoyed all the Strictly shows and meeting the Strictly dancers including Oti Mabuse, ... Read More
We went on the Ventura specifically for the Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise from Southampton around the Mediterranean on 2nd June. We thoroughly enjoyed all the Strictly shows and meeting the Strictly dancers including Oti Mabuse, Graziano, Alijaz and Janette and head judge Shirley Ballas. The entertainment was very good indeed and if you didn't want to immerse yourself in the Strictly theme there was always something going on in other areas. Our cabin was good for an inside cabin and it felt larger because of the clever positioning of mirrors however I would definitely choose an outside cabin if going again because that way you can sit outside. Our cabin steward Lourdes was so lovely nothing was too much trouble for her even getting me some extra hangers. We mainly ate in the buffet restaurant and there was a good selection of different food every evening but we did get a bit fed up of the same four types of English cheese on offer every night! The main restaurant was nice but we found the waiters abit brusque so we didn't go there very often. There was a varied itinerary of some nice places to visit including Gibraltar Cartagena Barcelona Marseille Monaco Corsica and Cadiz. We took two excursions one in Marseille which unfortunately wasn't very good it was a beach excursion with a quick stop in Marseille. It was a very hot day and the guide kept us on the coach for fifteen minutes in the heat while telling us about the history of Marseille instead of giving us that extra time in Marseille as we only had twenty minutes left. When we got to the beach we had one and a half hours but it was absolutely crowded and wouldn't be suitable for anybody with a walking disabilities to venture on as it was very hard to get in and out of the sea as the shingle dropped down. When I mentioned this to the excursion sales person on the ship he told me that I shouldn't be going on any beach with a walking disability! I was very offended and really think he should have been taught a tactful way of suggesting his paying customer might have been better to perhaps not go on the beach. I only wanted them to note that they should advise of this as no way in the shore excursion guide does it say it isn't suitable for people who have disabilities. The content of this particular excursion was not good and several people complained on return. However the tour of Monaco and Montecarlo was excellent and we were taken to the major attractions with a brilliant French lady who made the tour fun and interesting. Now for the terrifying part! We had been taken ashore on tender boats in the morning so after waiting 45 minutes in the boiling hot sun with no shade and nowhere to sit we eventually got on our tender boat to return to the ship and we we left the port the tender started to roll all over the place as the wind picked up and the sea was going right over the front of the tender, it gradually got worse and worse and one poor man became very seasick he was told to sit down as it was so dangerous on the boat and was passed a lot of bags. By this time people were panicking and one lady nearly passed out while another was being seasick. I was really frightened because the boat was rocking so much I could see even the tender pilot looked worried. We were stuck on the tender for an hour rocking and rolling and when they tried to bring it along side the ship it kept smashing into the platform where you get off. It took three strong men to help each person off by literally hauling them o to the ship incase they fell into the sea. Ours was once of the last tenders to actually make it to the ship after that the Captain halted the rest and left over a thousand guests on the shore in Monaco! Luckily later that evening we were able to put down ancho in Villefranche which had a calmer bay and all the rest of the guests got on tenders after being coached there and finally onto the ship late into the evening. People were exhausted and some had missed their medicine which was on the ship. This has completely put us off of ever going on a tender boat again. I don't often get freighted but that was very scary indeed! The overall view of the ship is that it offered a good variety of bars cafes theatre and restaurants and had good areas on deck to sit out on. The swimming pools were nice and big with one covered if it was cooler like when we left Southampton. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for the Christmas Markets in Europe. The Balmoral crew had made a splendid effort to make the ship festive. Lovely decorations throughout.There were beautifully made gingerbread houses in some spots on the ship. A ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the Christmas Markets in Europe. The Balmoral crew had made a splendid effort to make the ship festive. Lovely decorations throughout.There were beautifully made gingerbread houses in some spots on the ship. A lovely festive dinner and very good entertainers and speakers. Enjoyed the orchestra, piano player, string quartet and guitarist, talks and quizzes. Formal nights with lovely food but good food throughout the trip. Lots of work goes on to make a voyage successful, but the crew including those we don't see are very discreet. Because of being December with unpredictable weather and fog the itinerary had to be altered but as we had been to Germany and Denmark on another Fred Olsen cruise we had been fortunate to see the Rivers and Kiel Canal in good weather ad daylight. Others may have been disappointed, but it is winter. The Christmas markets were amazing. The Tivoli Gardens at Christmas with 'snow' looked wonderful. The shopping streets in Copenhagen were full of people and lights. A lovely experience. Hamburg had a Father Christmas flying overhead on zip wires at the Christmas market. There were sprinkles of snow. Bremen is a lovely town, our third visit. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just ... Read More
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so amazing, and she was missed. And we decided that the only way to go was the Queen's Grill, as we had done before on our last Cunard cruise in 2008 just before the Old Girl went out of service and was packed off to Dubai. It mystifies me that the QM2 was designed with the lifeboats hanging from Deck 8, just below the Queens's Grill Deck 9 suites. So all the views from the most spacious and consequently expensive cabins on the ship have partially obstructed views of the ocean below from their windows and balconies. Not so bad in the winter when the balconies are too cold to be used, but for a sailing the rest of the year, this is just nuts. Partially obstructed cabins usually go for a large discount. Apparently Cunard learned from this huge design mistake, and the later built Victoria and Elizabeth do not have this problem for the Queens Grill cabins, nor for the QG or Princess Grill Dining Room, as discussed in the next paragraph.. Furthermore, the Queens Grill Dining Room is on Deck 7. The outdoor walking track that goes all round the ship is on the perimeter of Deck 7. So all day long the Queens's Grill diners, and the Princess Grill on the other side, get the pleasure of a constant stream of walkers and runners by, looking in often on the diners, and distracting to the fine dining experience. My wife and I found this most disconcerting. Again, why did they design the ship this way? The QG food is way above average, with caviar and foie gras on request at dinner all the time, with a little notice, plus special orders, but one does get tired of the featured standards like Orange Duckling, Beef Wellington, Tenderloin steak, Broiled Lobster and Dover Sole. More variation would be good. Appetizers need more creativity. Vegan selections boring. Sandwiches at lunch few and boring. Waiting staff excellent. Lunch menu choices could use a little sprucing up. The Maitre De takes very good care of his precious guests. Nice wine offerings. Staterooms in the Queens Grill category other than the view problem are very nice. Large bathrooms, although I would have preferred a stall shower rather than this tub/shower. Better in rocky seas for safety and just leaning against the shower walls when necessary for stability . Beds very comfortable. Large walk in closets and lots of storage space. At over 500 sq ft the Queens Grill stateroom is very nice and comfortable indeed. The last of the Ocean Liners is large at over 125,000 tons and sails very steady and mostly smoothly, even in strong winds and bad seas, but when strong winds slice across the ship's path, it is going to get rough, as for any ship. So it was on one day of the seven days crossing the pond from NYC to Southampton and a night or two. I am not a great sailor, not like my wife, but most days the rolling I can take. It is the combination of the rolling and pitching in the North Atlantic that does me in. As this one bad day proved, once again. The ship is large - 2600 passengers, although today there are the many 4,000- 5,000 passenger behemoths that have destroyed European ports such as Venice and most of the Caribbean Islands. We prefer the small Seabourn size ships, of 450 passengers and took this cruise mostly out of convenience to get to Europe. Three formal nights out of seven is just excessive to our way of thinking, but most of the Brits on board loved it that way. A really big dress deal for both men and women. Not at all the casual dress style growing so fashionable on so many other smaller ships today, such as Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. Dress standards are very important to maintain, but so many other cruise lines have dropped standards and let people take advantage these days. It has gone in the other direction. No tuxedos for me however, so it was dark suit and tie these formal nights. Other nights it was a pleasure to wear a sports coat and tie, as were all the other gentlemen for the most part in the Grill dining rooms. A handsome crowd of men and women, elegantly attired. The main Theater has very bad seating, whereby people crowd in next to each other on long couch type seats. Not too many rows of seats have a separate seat for one person. Too many bodies get crammed in this way, but not to my liking. Just when one thinks he or she is settled in, along comes another person or two and they just push their way in. Very tight, and with coughing and sneezing, not good. The other large entertainment and lecturing room Illuminations, has very nice separate seating and is much more comfortable. Lectures and performances almost non stop all day long. Most very good. Whether about the Cold War and submarines in WW2, being kept captive in Lebanon or piano performances. The only planetarium at sea has some fantastic shows. The QM performers team put on at least one extraordinary production number. Fourteen dancers and singers, with many costume changes, and a fine orchestra. We enjoyed immensely the large collection of Hollywood and Broadway passenger celebrity photos on the old QM and QE displayed in many areas throughout the ship, and many photos of the old fleet itself. It will be a while before we take another Cunard cruise, and I do not think it will be on the QM2, although we enjoyed this one very much despite its shortcomings in QM category cabin and DR placement. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the Mediterranean thru the Gibralter strait. Sapphire Princess is a wonderful ship, one of the Grand class- which we have liked the most of the many ships we have been on. this class is set up with most of the entertainmenton deck seven. On Sapphire and Ruby -three beautiful well maintained dance floors. Kudos for bringing us singer Peter Howarth and the band "Atomic" both were awesome. Atomic is the best lounge band ever on a cruise ship. The stage band was excellent too. We did not enjoy the other stage shows - we have seen beatles tribute bands many times before, and unfortunately the ships stage performers were well below par. We are dancers and really appreciate the recorded ballroom music offered. The buffet was good for breakfast, dining room,not. the dining room was good for dinner, the buffet, not Most of the staff were very helpful and pleasant. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
It was mine and my partners first cruise. I really didn’t know what to expect after reading some of the reviews some good and some where dreadful. We went with an open mind and no sort of expectations as it was all new to us, as long as ... Read More
It was mine and my partners first cruise. I really didn’t know what to expect after reading some of the reviews some good and some where dreadful. We went with an open mind and no sort of expectations as it was all new to us, as long as we got value for money we would be happy. Well I don’t understand the negative reviews about this ship she is a stunner. We had a balcony cabin and the all inclusive drinks package that was exceptional value for money. Our cabin was 10096 it was spotlessly clean. Clean sheets and towels everyday and we had everything we needed. The tea and coffee facilities were a nice touch for an Italian ship as I do love a brew in the morning when I get up. We had second sitting dinnng 2030 in the Quattro Venti restaurant and the food was spectacular, with excellent waiter service. Our wine glasses never went empty. The entertainment in the tiger lounge was what you would expect sometimes a little cheesy!! But entertainment staff really friendly especially Ray. The T32 nightclub was good with a variety of music for all tastes. Gym and sauna and pool facilities were excellent and very clean. Casino really big for a cruise ship I thought. Overall a magnificent experience on the Magnifica will definitely be back as we thought she was a stunner. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
There were a few changes in NCL policies on the ship that we were not aware of at the beginning of our trip. The policy on straws was a little bit of an issue. We could have brought our own had we known about the change. Also, the ... Read More
There were a few changes in NCL policies on the ship that we were not aware of at the beginning of our trip. The policy on straws was a little bit of an issue. We could have brought our own had we known about the change. Also, the policy on taking food to your room or ordering at a restaurant and being able to take it back to your room. We were informed it was a health issue, but yet you could get room service. We think the policy was to have you request room service and get charged the fees. Disembarkations were easier this time and not an issue. They had plenty of boats and we also had plenty of time in the port so there wasn't this rush and bottle necking on the ship. The entertainment was great. They had an excellent cast of regulars and The Knights put on a great show. I with they would give the cast a little more of a highlight like in a program or in the daily newsletter. They were excellent. The service was difficult, it seemed to be an issue of language barrier and policies. I asked for a fried egg instead of a scrambled, but instead of just swapping the egg preparation, they wanted me to get the entire dish that had a fried egg. Substitutions were definitely an issue and difficult to convey to the staff. One friend wanted a drink with aviator gin and they kept bringing and a cocktail called the Aviation. The excursions were good, we just didn't like the late notification of the time changes to earlier or the regrouping of the excursions. We skipped out on a couple excursions we had booked in advance, because of this. We had a schedule in mind and then they would change it. Dining was not all that great this time. I remember on the last cruise the food was excellent and there were places we wanted to go back to have a dish or dessert again. This time there was not that experience. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was sailing to the destination we desired and because of the raving reviews. We can fault NOTHING and praise EVERYTHING. From the luxurious and stylish design of the ship, to the amazing, warm and sweet ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was sailing to the destination we desired and because of the raving reviews. We can fault NOTHING and praise EVERYTHING. From the luxurious and stylish design of the ship, to the amazing, warm and sweet service we received, to the food, oh my God the food was amazing. To the room, cleaned twice daily. To the itinerary, the entertainment (thank you Eddy!) To the bedroom and bars. We had awesome servers in the MDR- Jerry kept filling my husband's glass with wine, Myo and Rajni were so attentive to us! Filip in the Sunset Bar was great, Gina, our room attendant, was the best. Eddy, the cruise director and Jayne Curry with her wonderful voice and amazing personality. We loved every second of it and although it has been a few days since we returned home, we miss it. My husband opted for the Standard Alcohol Package which offered him quite a variety of house wines, beers and spirits. I had the standard non alcoholic package and enjoyed treating myself to lush teas and premium coffees. The food both in the Ocean View Cafe and MDR was amazing. We did not try any speciality restaurants because we were super impressed with the MDR food. All in all, this was one of the best holidays of our life. We are in our mid 30s so we have def changed our view that a cruise is for the older generation! It was full of young and young at heart 40, 50 and 60 year old holiday makers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Norwegian fjords, and because a travel agent had put together a group that included some dance lessons and dancing as part of the package. I would probably not have chosen to go on a cruise ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the Norwegian fjords, and because a travel agent had put together a group that included some dance lessons and dancing as part of the package. I would probably not have chosen to go on a cruise otherwise but I was very pleasantly surprised by the experience. The Norwegian fjords are beautiful and well worth the trip. The facilities and standard of cleanliness on the ship were very good, and the food was much better than expected - a good variety including some dishes which are tricky to do well, but we enjoyed everything we tried. We tried one specialty restaurant which was also good but not worth the additional cost. Also, generally the speed of service was slow at dinnertime, I would rather have had some of that time for other things. The cabins were comfortable and it was nice to have a balcony for the views although we hardly ever went out on it. I now think an outside cabin without a balcony would be just as good, as you still get the views and you are nearer the sea. We thought the evening entertainment was very good, and especially enjoyed the jazz quartet. The service was excellent, all the crew were very friendly and helpful, the emarkation and disembarkation process was extremely efficient. One gripe - I asked for my credit card charges not to be converted to my card currency by Celebrity, this was quite clear on the form I signed but they ignored it (and added their 3% conversion charge). As I didn't find out about this until several weeks later when my statement arrived, and they make it almost impossible to figure out how to complain once the cruise is over, I've just had to accept it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise level for the location, but it was never a problem, we had no noise at all from the elevator and stairwell traffic. The room itself was very good with lots of storage and plenty of room to move about without any problems. The only issue is if you are not agile the tub presents a problem as it is a high step into the tub. Once in tub area to shower your head is practically touching the ceiling, I am 5'8" and clearance was about 1 inch, so if you are over 6' you will have to scrunch down. Otherwise the bathroom size is good. The Club Continent Suite comes with a stash of free liquor, Bombay Gin, Sotli Vodka, Rum, and Johnny Walker Red. The balcony was a bit tight but not an issue. I suggest that when you board, if you have a Club Continent Suite or higher the specialty dining is free, you book the specialty restaurants for every day you are on board, then cancel the day(s) you do not use on those schedule days, otherwise you are on a wait list the whole trip. The food is not spectacular on board, but very good. The surprise restaurant is the The Patio, poolside. Order a bone in sirloin steak that was as good as the steak house specialty restaurant Prime C. The menu at The Patio is very good. The best food of the entire cruise occurred on White Night when the food is superb everything from lobster, pork, steak, frog legs, calamari, etc. is available. Tons of desserts, too. Entertainment on board is good, nothing to write home about. The singers, magicians, and band are fine, good way to spend an hour relaxing on board. For dancing and drinking the Living Room is the place to be where they have a DJ and combo for entertainment. My favorite location was the Spirits bar in the Den which seems to be the gathering place on the ship most nights, cocktail lounge atmosphere with piano player. The bartenders were exceptional at the Spirits bar, but I learned they are not permanently assigned but rotated through the ship. The bartenders we had were Alex and Vlad, Alex was assigned to work the Mosaic Coffee bar and Vlad the pool bar on the next cruise, too bad as they are truly good at the bar. We booked three tours on board. We were very disappointed with 2 tours and loved the 3rd tour. This is hard to judge for future cruises as they rarely return to the same ports, but keep moving across the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. So it just could have been the locations we chose to see. Look into Viatour or local tour companies in port. Staff was friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. One nice feature is fewer passengers so embarkation and disembarkation at ports is never crowded, easy on and easy off was nice instead of waiting in long lines. The ship is small so navigating decks and going to bow to stern takes no time at all in getting around the ship. Would I do Azamara again, yes, now that I "know my way around and the tricks" The ship does not attract the younger crowd, families with children, or serious partiers so the atmosphere is laid back for people in the 50's and over age croup Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, ... Read More
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, along with two other friends booked a weekend cruise on Ventura to Guernsey over August Bank Holiday. We sailed on Ventura previously to Brugges, and as Platinum club members with Princess we know the layout of Ventura and Azura mirror their ships, so we were well aware of the ship and what lay ahead – or so we had thought. Firstly upon arrival at Southampton I have to say this was the worst I have experienced to date. Complete chaos. Guests were called in sequence order A-Z depending on what you are given when you arrive at the top of the stairs of the terminal. Waited for approximately 1.5hours to check in (1pm arrival). Terrible. Once onboard we were impressed with the ship layout and how bright and clean it appeared. We had an inside cabin, which was very clean, and enough room for two adults sharing. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable of all liners we have sailed on. The cleanliness is evident throughout from the bars to the pool area, and restaurants. However, in the evenings the majority of toilets throughout the ship smelt really badly – urine quite evident on the floors of several, and also quite a few blockages with no toilet attendant/cleaners in sight (few and far between). On the first evening in the MDR, we had a lovely table for 4. With no introductions or personal welcomes from the waiting staff, we were presented with the main menu - the waiter returned very promptly (in space of 5 minutes) to take the orders. I ordered a lamb shank for my main course and asked the waiter if it was possible to have some mash potato – to which he said he would ask the chef. No drinks, or wine on offer and within 5 minutes our starters arrived. My partner at this point asked was it possible to see a wine list as we felt it was more appropriate to take a drinks order before going full steam ahead and presenting us with our starters! It did feel like a conveyor belt, they wanted us “fed watered and out” with minimal interaction. The bread rolls were dire. Soft rolls, think tesco value on a small scale with zero choice, and put on the side plate with no second offerings. My lamb shank arrived and the waiter took off. I waited whilst my 3 companions tucked into their mains; I assumed the waiter was going to get my potato for the lamb. Again within 5 minutes he returned to clear the plates at which point I asked him did he get the mash as I hadn’t even started to my main yet. He was quick to inform me “no sir there is no mash”. I wasn't happy and I asked why hadn’t he told me this when he presented the plate to begin with. He said he was sorry he had just checked – this itself was a lie as I could see him directly in front of me fiddling with cutlery and the likes. If mash is offered in the buffet, and various other potatoes offered to top that, I didn't quite understand. I again repeated the question you’re telling me there is no mash available, to which he said “sorry no”. I then asked him to fetch me the Maitre’D. when he arrived I asked him if it was possible to have mash – his reply “anything is possible sir”. I told him I was informed mash wasn't available – he seemed surprised. I went on to explain I wasn't very happy at all nor were the others in my party. The lack of wanting to serve us, no drinks menu, orders etc”. I actually handed my main course, untouched, back as I was disappointed by the whole episode. I would like to add to this “Yes this might be a weekend cruise, but you should not treat all guests as first timers on a weekend break whom you assume will probably never return”. We were appalled by the lack of interaction and the lack of personal touch from the MDR waiting staff, their behaviour was definitely the lowest I’ve witnessed. It was quite the contrary in the buffet. Food in the buffet area was lovely, plenty of choice this is one area where the company excel. There were a few hen parties on board who were enjoying themselves Port of Call Guernsey: Tender required. What can I say…….. we docked at 8am – all guests required back on ship for 5pm. We had breakfast and went downstairs to the tender around 11am thinking it will be straight forward as we have tendering numerous times before at other locations worldwide. No - how wrong where we. We were told to join a queue for a ticket to join the tenders. The queue for this alone wrapped around the foyer area back to the art gallery – we waited in line for 1 hour and given tickets to tender. We were then moved into the restaurant, where we waited a further 1.5 hours. With 6 tenders operating, we felt this would have been quicker and should have been better managed. We spoke briefly to the lady (I use loosely as she was abrupt) this was taking forever, she replied by saying “no this is normal”. If this is normal for P&O I would be sacking the management in charge of this process. It was awful. We have experienced several tenders over the years with OTHER liners and never waited longer than 15 mins to disembark the ship, and that also involved a ticket and call by number! Perhaps the ship is too big for tendering to the port, but you've definitely got this so wrong P&O. Guernsey is beautiful, a lovely little place full of charm and very walkable. We had an afternoon tea and stroll, however we felt we should return to the ship around 3 (after just 1 hour on land) to avoid a possible mayhem like the disembarkation to tender earlier . Walking downhill towards the port and tendering area at 3pm, we could see a queue as long as anything with people waiting around. It took us 1 hour 10 mins to board and get back on ship. The whole experience is quite exhausting and not one I will repeat with P&O again. In conclusion, I feel P&O should use smaller ships for the weekend breaks and clearly advertise it involve tendering. Also, other cruise critic members do mention tendering by P&O at Guernsey being the worst experiences witnessed – trust me these people are not telling lies. I for one will NEVER return to P&O on a mini cruise again that involves tendering unless they drastically change their ways - not to mention their manner. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting ... Read More
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting major cities like, Berlin, Helsinki and Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg whilst also visiting quieter destinations such as Kristiansand, Klapeida, Tallinn, Karlskrona, Riga (listed in order of increasing preference). • 1- 2 more sea day would be relaxing but we had to fly out. There were scammers who attempted to scam us at London and Berlin. • Mostly smooth sailing with minor waves at night time in the Baltic seas. We do appreciate good stabilisation system with deep hull in the ships. EMBARKATION – No lines, straight through at the later part of the day. ROOMS – Very neatly appointed, the smaller bathroom meant a larger ratio of living space. • The showers are small but have been told they will refurbish in the near future. • The cabin is kept clean and stewardess Rosario was nice. I personally like the current bed style a lot and find the new design of the proposed refurbishment a bit tacky. • The bed and pillows are very comfortable, probably the best I have had at sea. PUBLIC SPACE – Spacious, lots of elegant seating in different decks. A few other cruises I have been on, felt like you must buy a drink to sit in the bar area, or must purchase this to lounge at a corner, i.e. less inviting. This ship had a lot more “free” space that you can comfortably sit and have a chat with friends. Dining alfresco in the Terrace café is great when warm; the sunset view (quick photo) is worth the chilly wind! OTHER PASSENGERS – most demographics lean towards retirees from North America, Europe Australia etc. • Some passengers are very warm and friendly, some others were very discerning, a few were ageist and slightly chauvinistic towards non Anglos because there is hardly any non Anglo passenger on board – no wonder other Asian male passengers were mistaken for crew and there were lots of staring. • In Australia, we see a variety of nationalities like Middle East, East and South East Asia, Africa, South American people. Perhaps with a few of the passengers, they don’t see much of the greater world as much and developed more curiosity as such, hmm. • I have also witnessed a few passengers been rather rude to the crew and are quite demanding, my guess is there is a correlation between more luxury cruises with more discerning cruisers. Contrastingly, I have witnessed people pushing in lines at buffet…but you probably expected this on any cruise. • Passengers on other mass and premium lines saw happier looking passengers who are on holiday, Nautica passengers appears that this is the everyday life (probably because they cruised with Oceania a lot and this became their normal home). CREW – Mostly excellent and friendly: only some very minor hiccups with some waiter and lady at the bar near the casino area. John the cruise director was amazing and the chef (not sure of the name) grilling lobsters, steak and fish in the terrace cafe for most part of the cruise is a master, the best grilled lobsters I have ever tasted. The chef changed on the last two days, the lobster quality dropped significantly and not cleaned properly (accidental slice of the excretory glands by the chef when cutting the lobster meant a unique taste…). FOOD - Having cruised with Celebrity (same menu in different ships rotating), RCL, Carnival, Princess, this line has the best food out of the above. Celebrity and princess are still decent and I enjoyed my meals with them. Carnival was good value for money and fun, but RCL was cost cutting. 1. If food is important to you, as it is for me, you are likely to enjoy this cruise. 2. The only comment I will make is that the sashimi is not that great, i.e. powdery and breakfast was getting boring after 2 weeks of continental breakfast. This is likely because I am spoiled in Australia where the café brunch options are excellent and access to other cultures like Chinese dumplings, dim sums with congee and fresh sashimi etc. I am not sure how adventurous the other passengers are with trying “non-western” style breakfast. .. 3. The fruit options for breakfast are impeccable and fresh. I can’t rave enough about the grilled lobster done by that particular Chef in the buffet, simply the best, he needs a bonus. 4. The main dining room is mostly great, tip: the daily menus are better than the Pepin inspired ones. Miso glazed Sea Bass was delicious. 5. The Russian evening buffet was outstanding with lots of choices and interesting dishes. We really appreciated trying other cuisines and the culture, especially when the food is made nicely. 6. Desserts – I have not had a bad dessert on board and have gotten seconds, very nicely presented and produced. You will be eating with nice silverware and plates. Afternoon tea with string quartet is very good but often hard to find a seat. SHORE EXCURSIONS – • Did a private tour for SPB for Catherine palace + Peterhof and it was great. • The complimentary shore excursion to Hermitage was disappointing, I could only look and take pictures of the ceiling because it is too crowded to see artworks on the side. Perhaps I needed to grow a few inches taller. Good thing that the ceilings were intricately beautiful. Because of the massive crowds, I did not see the peacock clock. Your face is literally up behind someone’s back. It was like a battle against time and the 50-60k people per day to take a quick peak of some highlights and get out ASAP. Don’t get me wrong though, the rooms within the hermitage were very opulent. • The local guide who gets on board at the ports Is quite good – provides a local maps with tips and answers. Also the shuttle to city centre, both very nice touches added by Oceania. • The complimentary tours for the 3 cathedrals however, were very good. See the ports info below for tips. • In general the ship excursions and transfers are very expensive for what they offer. ENTERTAINMENT The lectures on history of the ports were interesting and John’s magic show and talks were excellent. You are more or less expected to entertain yourself on board, which is perfectly fine given the intensive itinerary. Take the extra time to recharge, read a book and relax somewhere. I will be more than happy if Oceania spends the money on other things to improve vacation experience. There was minigolf and a shuffle board. Summary of tips: take naps in the very comfy bed and deck chairs with good cushions, try the afternoon tea listening to strings, try Toscana, try the miso glazed sea bass, eat the desserts, relax in the public areas, read in the library and relax after a long day (30k steps per day sometimes) of sightseeing ! Baltic cruises are definitely not only for the retirees. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
husband and i got there early after staying in a hotel over night so had to be out by 10am so drove to ab parking great start took cases off and walked 1 minute to ship for our second cruise with rc ,embarking early as 10.40 am very ... Read More
husband and i got there early after staying in a hotel over night so had to be out by 10am so drove to ab parking great start took cases off and walked 1 minute to ship for our second cruise with rc ,embarking early as 10.40 am very smooth early signs ship looks very tired but had a lovely time cabin was 1888 the last cabin on the ship on the 12th floor very roomy balcony cabin everywhere clean lovely sheets very crisp ate in main dining room 10 out of 14 nights had my time dining beautiful food but slow at serving as they have a lot of tables to do but well worth it, ate breakfast some mornings on deck 3 in mdr as its help yourself which is fine, windjammer is lovely help yourselves lovely breakfast just wish they had trays so you could carry a few items at once, but finding a seat is pot luck its all about timing as to what time you go have to work out but views are lovely in there and presentation of food is great , shows are not to bad but not go wow factor, ice show is lovely well worth a look ,bingo some afternoons by pool and in star lounge of an evening ,plenty childrens karioke too much , went to meet and mingle on second day won shopping bag and baseball cap on raffle only about 30 came shame really as over 100 signed up, activities was good played crazy golf couple of times watched flow rider which was very good .casino was good very friendly, met plenty of friends on board mainly in smoking area on deck 11 also deck 4 otherwise you dont really meet the same people twice if you dont smoke ,we used adult pool and adult spar pools never over crowded pool very cool sea water some times a bit green but attendent said it was fine but ok daytime entertainment was hit and miss but theres a lot of everything for everyone read cruise planner that get delivered to your room every night tick off what suits you otherwise you miss things , bars are good quick serving you ,cabin steward yan was lovely cleaning all the time replacing tea and coffee all the time making towel animals every other night, staff are all chatty can not do enough for you nothing is too much trouble for any of them went on a few trips with rc and done our own thing on other stops ,great to sit on balcony with a drink and just look out at sea now for moans our room on deck 12 was lovely overall but during the night the cleaners are scraping sun loungers and chairs up on deck 13 waking us up so i would not go back to deck 12 again but would use rc again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise as keen fans of 'Strictly' and had been on the Britannia last year on a similar cruise. Food was good usual standard for P&O. We had freedom dinning and ate mainly in the Peninsular. Good ... Read More
We chose this cruise as keen fans of 'Strictly' and had been on the Britannia last year on a similar cruise. Food was good usual standard for P&O. We had freedom dinning and ate mainly in the Peninsular. Good service...friendly staff. We ate one night in the Epicurean...well worth the £28pp cover charge. Good for a special evening and we celebrated a birthday. Maitre de was a little grumpy all other staff excellent. Cabin was R708 deck 14..sheltered balcony so not for sun bathers. No noise issues however we heard ppl on the other side had complaints. We heard that sadly a crew member died on board 'no suspicious circumstances' as announced by the captain. However a team flew out from the UK to support the crew. We also had to make a detour on the return journey due to a medical emergency. We've never known a ship with so many issues and kept looking for the albatross. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We decided to give MSC a try after reading some very interesting reviews, have to say we were not disappointed had a great time aboard the Magnifica. The Parking was free which was a bonus, embarkation and disembarkation both ran like ... Read More
We decided to give MSC a try after reading some very interesting reviews, have to say we were not disappointed had a great time aboard the Magnifica. The Parking was free which was a bonus, embarkation and disembarkation both ran like clockwork, they have obviously done a bit of homework, the online booking procedure was easy to follow as well, which helped with embarkation. The ship itself we were told is going in for some refit work next year 2019, I cannot see why it was in very good condition overall. Having said that the TV's in the cabins are on the small side, and not a lot of channels for the English speaking fraternity, so this might be addressed then. The cabins which we had a balcony are of good size, and kept immaculately clean by our steward George. Dining was a pleasure we went 2nd sitting purely because we prefer not to eat late, the food was always a good varied choice, and always served hot, not always the case on some cruises we have been on. The self service buffet was excellent also with a good varied choice, and again everything was kept at a good temperature. It was also nice not having to fight or look for seating for our group of 4, there always seemed to be plenty of room. We did not use any of the pay to eat restaurant's, so cannot comment on these. We had an all inclusive drinks package for the 1st time, although this did not include premium brands it suited our needs and was exceptional value for money. Please note pay for your package before you sail, it is quite a bit cheaper than waiting until you are on board. On board entertainment could be better if I am honest, they use their own singers and dancers every night. They do a very good job and are very talented, but it would have been nice to have a bit more variety from time to time. If you like musicals then this may not be an issue, but not every one does so more variety please. They did bring on an English guy called Mitch Corner, he was excellent, he did 2 sets Buble and Barlow but these were only about 30 minutes a piece so that was a shame, he was very popular. The staff are absolutely brilliant some of the best I have encountered, all very attentive and interaction with the passengers was second to none. The British Ambassador on board a young chap called Wesley was outstanding, he made the cruise very enjoyable with his humour, and attentiveness great guy. Cant say too much about excursions as we always plan ahead before sailing and do our own thing. I would comment that I thought the shuttle buses were a bit on the expensive side, have always found other companies offer a free service to the local town. Not many negatives about MSC to offer really, I would say the corridors to the cabins are a bit on the bland side, a few pictures here and there would help. My biggest whinge was the cost to use the Steam Room and Sauna, this has always been a free service on every ship I have travelled on. Sorry MSC a daily charge of 29euro's is just too much, if you want to compete in Europe like the other companies then this might need to be looked at. Baz Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Booked late deal outside cabin on Queen Elizabeth to Norwegian fjords. Cabin number 1107. The cabin is located aft on deck 1 and suffers from continuous vibration problems from the engine room. The vibrations can even be felt when in ... Read More
Booked late deal outside cabin on Queen Elizabeth to Norwegian fjords. Cabin number 1107. The cabin is located aft on deck 1 and suffers from continuous vibration problems from the engine room. The vibrations can even be felt when in bed and through the pillow. A more annoying noise comes from a service duct which is located in the wall separating cabins 1107 and 1109. The duct carries away waste from the Britannia Restaurant kitchen located on the floor above. Both cabins experience a noise like a toilet is being constantly flushed - a very loud suction noise. The ship is very aware of the problem and in an attempt to pacify the cabin occupants they switch of the system off between 11.30pm and 9am. Throughout the day it can be flushing at any time for long periods so forget trying to enjoy the cabin for any sort of relaxation during operational hours. We complained and after 3 days were moved to a balcony cabin. Several other passengers along that row of cabins complained about vibration problems and asked to be moved. The cruise to the fjords called in at the regular ports of call (Bergan etc) but also included two ‘maiden ports’ inside the arctic circle. One was Narvik which is a small uninspiring town. A quick look around a few local shops was the best on offer. Hopefully Cunard will find a more exciting port of call on future cruises. Other aspects of the cruise were fine, excellent food and service in Britannia restaurant. Excellent theatre shows performed by the ship’s singers and dances. Same guest artists seem to circulate around the same few ships so if you sail regulalrly with Cunard or PandO expect the same artists to be on the bill. Guest speakers were acceptable but the topics (about WW2 and the BBC) were quite dull and only attracted small audiences. Specialist speakers on photography were more popular. Overall passenger service was as good as ever, all staff helpful and smiling throughout the cruise. Ship’s photographers seemed to be more in the background on this cruise and not as intrusive as on previous cruises (a welcome thing) but they still insisted on disturbing passengers enjoying their evening meal to to take ‘a memorable shot’. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Time of year and amazing destinations we have never experienced before. Most were easily explored on our own. Great weather may for memorable sunsets and good use of the balcony. Travelling under the Great Belt Bridge with 1.5 metres to ... Read More
Time of year and amazing destinations we have never experienced before. Most were easily explored on our own. Great weather may for memorable sunsets and good use of the balcony. Travelling under the Great Belt Bridge with 1.5 metres to spare at midnight was thrilling. We enjoyed the itinerary so much we would repeat the experience one day. Would have liked to call into Stockholm but was not on this itinerary. Entertainment was pretty good especially the pianist in the Schooner Bar which had a great atmosphere. The ships orchestra were brilliant and much enjoyed also as trios at other times. The dining experience was the only thing that let it down - the queues were enormous and sometimes we decided to go without a dessert or we would have missed a show. The service was slow arriving from the kitchen to the table. The food was great when it came but when you are sitting on a table for two it was a long wait and when you are sitting on a larger table we sometimes run out of conversation! The food itself was delicious even for us vegetarians. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I ... Read More
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I point out I am usually not one to complain as I understand that sometimes things don't go to plan but we had a couple of main issues whilst onboard. -Drinks Packages & Shortage of Drinks Onboard Prior to setting sail I enquired about drinks packages, 4 of the party wished to purchase the Deluxe Package, myself the soda package and one of the party did not want a package at all. However, this is where the disappointment started. We were informed that due to new regulations it was either all or nothing. We did not want the drinks packages so that we could ‘drink excessively’ but more for the convenience of not having to sign for drinks on each purchase. Having being informed of new rules set by yourselves we ended up purchasing 4 Deluxe packages and 2 Royal Refreshment packages. This totalling £2821.84, £517.69 more than the package arrangement that we initially wanted. Further disappointment followed as on day 10 of the cruise, drinks began to run out. Only select beers, wines and sodas were available at the bars and pub. The pub eventually having no Peroni, San Miguel, Pinot Grigio, Tonic Water or Sprite Zero. Little alternatives were offered and we were left 4 days without our preferred drinks, which we had effectively paid for when we purchased our packages? -Overcrowding Another issue that was particularly apparent was the sheer overcrowding of the Independence during the 5 sea days. Having travelled before I understand that sea days are busier than those where we are in port. However, during this cruise it was noticeably worse than previous. Fellow guests began the reserving of sunbeds at 6:30am!!! This making it an unbeatable challenge to find any sunbeds after around 8:30am. Guests were sunbathing on the paths and sides of the pools and sunbeds were also so close that it was impossible to get onto them safely. I was extremely disappointed as for our party this holiday was about relaxing, which was impossible when we had to awake early to find a sunbed and there were no particularly peaceful areas to sunbathe. After speaking to fellow travellers we were not the only guests who found that the ship appeared overcrowded on this voyage. This overcrowding issue was also noted by guests in our party when trying to order speciality coffees at café promenade, with the wait being up to 25 minutes for a single coffee. A timeframe which I do not deem acceptable. The overcrowding issue also became apparent in the evenings before and after dinner, throughout all bars on the ship there was not one table or chair free for either before or after dinner drinks and the wait for being served was up to 30 minutes. From what we remember and understand about the Royal Caribbean brand this is not up to the usual standard, and it disappointed us, and was embarrassing with the first time cruisers. -The Stateroom Having staterooms located around the ship 7334, 7634 & 8220 we were disheartened to find that the cabins had not received any attention during the renovations earlier in the year. The same rusty bins, stained curtains and barely working TVs remained, issues which could’ve been resolved for little cost. This was slightly disappointing as stateroom 7334 could not use the TV, this was reported to guest services who later informed us that the TV was in working order, which it certainly was not. Our staterooms attendants for cabins 7334 & 7634 were also poor in comparison to previously cruises, leaving bins unemptied and tea making facilities were not replenished for up to 3 days at a time. This is not the usual standard and certainly not acceptable for Royal Caribbean. In summary, I have written to Royal Caribbean about the issues above, of which their response was 'Sorry but we have not broken any policies' and 'We never state when you purchase a drinks package that drinks will actually be available' I'm an emerald member and they can't even say 'Here's a free drink for those ones you missed out on' We paid £17,000+ for this cruise and left feeling extremely disappointed and sorry for those that have already booked to travel on this cruise in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
My husband and I were travelling with a group of 60 passengers and this was our 1st ocean cruise. I was nervous about being on the open seas, but once on board Navigator of the Seas, all fears were gone. It was a smooth sailing vessel even ... Read More
My husband and I were travelling with a group of 60 passengers and this was our 1st ocean cruise. I was nervous about being on the open seas, but once on board Navigator of the Seas, all fears were gone. It was a smooth sailing vessel even when the N. Sea became a little choppy. Thoroughly enjoyed the live shows in the theater, the entertainment (trivia, sing-a-longs, etc. ) in the Schooner lounge, friendly chats at Boleros, dancing and socializing in the Cosmopolitan and the English pub. My favorite though was the Promenade Cafe, where we were able to indulge in English scones and other pastries with a nice cup of tea at any time we wanted too. I decided to have a spa hour and enjoyed a soothing massage in clean comfortable surroundings. Also enjoyed the gym, but preferred to take in the fresh sea air by going for walks on the decks. As for the meals, our scrumptious dinners were in the Sapphire Room and we had our breakfast and lunches in the Windjammer, which were delicious and fresh. I did not get to eat at any of the other restaurants, but heard that the meals were great. Also had fun and enjoyed the on board shopping. Had the opportunity to have a chat with the Captain which was a highlight. The crew from different parts of the world were courteous, very friendly and helpful. It was a super experience to be on board the Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my 2nd time on a NCL ship. My first memorable experience with Jewel and impressive service from NCL Sydney office were the reasons for my 2nd time. This particular trip was arranged as all of us had not been to Norway. From ... Read More
This was my 2nd time on a NCL ship. My first memorable experience with Jewel and impressive service from NCL Sydney office were the reasons for my 2nd time. This particular trip was arranged as all of us had not been to Norway. From the booking to every single arrangement, our NCL consultant, Michelle Farren had been very helpful with her prompt response, despite 17 of us in the group. It was handed over to Hayley, who helped us before we sailed. Awesome service from NCL Sydney office!i never thought would happen to any cruise line due to some past negative experiences. Every day, our cruise ship, Norwegian Jade passed by different mountains. In the early summer, the snow covered mountains and visits to the fairytale lands in Norway warmed my heart during this memorable cruise trip. It's indeed a very beautiful Norwegian Fjords' journey, which all of us had enjoyed very much. We had selected 2 Free at Seas for each cabin. On top of that, we were given the Distinctive Voyages with few more addtional benefits, such as 250 min free wifi, 120 phone call credit that allows us to call any part of the world, another $50 shore credit per port etc. Most of us were busy every day taking part in different shore excursions. Though a few incidents happened on the ship, upon receipt of my comments, its cruuse director & guest services manager had contacted me personally. Service recoveries were offered to my cruise mates and I had received a complimentary wine & chocolates as well. Thanks for the prompt response and I was grateful that my friends were happy before they left the ship. I saw the Carbaret show by the production team onboard and it was really interesting to showcase Broadway musical at the lounge. The Cruise Director and his team had performed a very interesting "Movie Sketch Comedy Show'. Very great teamwork! Among the specialty restaurants, my team mates loved Cagney, Le Bistro, Moderno Churrascaria. Teppanyaki may require some improvements on the skills by the Chef. Grand Pacific, Alizar and Cafe Garden were great! We all love the foods. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
For this cruise the Silhouette was chartered by the Australian company that has many times organised similar cruises “down under” and it was the first time, I believe, that they had ventured into British and European waters. This ... Read More
For this cruise the Silhouette was chartered by the Australian company that has many times organised similar cruises “down under” and it was the first time, I believe, that they had ventured into British and European waters. This cruise featured Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe and Wynne Evans (of “Go Compare” fame) as well as the Celtic Tenors and many of Australia’s talents, onboard. We saw the cruise advertised over a year ago and decided to treat ourselves, particularly as we were also going on the Baltic cruise on the Silhouette which was to leave Southampton on 26th May. This was a wonderful holiday and a great experience. We booked early as we were sure that it would sell out quickly, as I think it must do in Australia. However this was not the case with this cruise and prices plummeted drastically, before the majority of the cabins could be sold. I understand that the company made a loss, which was rumoured at two and a half million pounds. Whatever the company lost I am sure that lessons have been learnt by it. For us, it was not to book so early next time, and for Bravo I feel that possibly the itinerary had much to do with it, with Cherbourg, Vigo and Bilbao collectively perhaps not the ideal destinations for a week’s cruise at the prices originally quoted, and maybe they overestimated the likely interest in this type of music. In our case, we decided not to grieve over the fact that we could have got the cruise cheaper and we really had a fabulous time.. We arrived at the port on the 19th at just after 10.30 and we were on the ship by 11, sitting in the smaller of the two theatres on the Silhouette, with a glass of sparkling wine, watching the lead-up to the Royal Wedding. We had sailed on the Eclipse before, so we felt quite at home as the Silhouette is almost identical and a beautiful ship. Rooms were ready by 1pm, and our bags arrived soon afterwards. We were very happy to be onboard and looking forward to the week. There was rather a lot of of confusion about dinner seatings but I believe that these were ironed out quite quickly. Guests were given either gold, blue or grey sea pass cards and these indicated at what time they should dine and at which time their performances of the headlining acts would be. All the headlining acts for the theatre did three performances so everyone had an equal chance of seeing them according to their card colour. We had gold cards so we saw Alfie Boe on the first night in the theatre, and guests with other coloured cards could enjoy other acts performing around the ship and see Alfie the next night. We enjoyed seeing Alfie Boe, but I don’t think he was at his best that evening, he did mention onstage that he was feeling seasick. Another concern and one expressed by users of the Roll Call forum was about the Guggenheim Museum excursion, which was included at the time we booked but by the time later bookings were made, it was an extra. We were confident that we had it included but there were no tickets for it waiting for us in the cabin, so we queued up at the Bravo helpdesk to enquire, and happily we were on the list. Ours was in the morning and included a tour by coach around Bilbao escorted by a very interesting, informative and endearingly eccentric guide, and then a look around the museum. Most of the exhibits we found not to our taste, but the building was worth a visit; I managed to get a top-up for my glass of Cava at the reception and then staggered back to the coach having enjoyed the trip overall. We were very impressed by the Australian talent onboard, including Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Henry Choo, Mark Vincent, who was a winner of Australia’s got talent some years ago, and Mirusia, a soprano who used to perform with Andre Rieu, and very accomplished. Mirusia surely should have been given more prominence, but for some reason she was not on the list that was placed in our cabin on the first day detailing the headliners and times and days they would appear in the theatre. Some other cruisers I spoke to even thought she had gone home so clearly the information going around was not adequate. It would have been helpful, for planning purposes, if we had been provided with a schedule of everything that was going on around the ship for the whole week, instead of being informed day by day. Some of the acts were performed in areas with very limited seating and standing room only and it was often not practical to go from one act to the next as one often needed to be early to get a place. Therefore a week’s overview would have helped here in order to try and see everything if that is what you wanted to do. Katherine appeared towards the end of the week, and was brilliant. We were at her first performance following the birth of her baby. She received rapturous applause and ovation and I was quite touched by the humble way she received this, almost in tears as if she genuinely was not expecting it. There were other performers and musicians too numerous to mention here and an onboard choir led by Jonathan Welch, who has formed choirs in Australia for people who have been disadvantaged in their lives. We both attended the first rehearsal, and Norman carried on with it, and enjoyed it although it seemed somehow not very well organised (the accompanist did not turn up on time for the first practice and did not seem to know what he was doing) and the rehearsals seemed to be a bit rushed because of other things going on. One of our favourite acts were the Stomping Ivories, consisting of two hat wearing piano players and a drummer. They played all different kinds of music, appealed to all ages, and some of the time seemed to be making up the act as they went along, in a very spontaneous style, entertaining and all part of their charm. We also very much enjoyed hearing Jiaxin Lloyd Webber perform on the cello with her accompanist, Pamela Chauhan who used to accompany Julian Lloyd Webber in the past. It is unusual I believe to see a really accomplished female pianist on stage, and we had the treat of hearing Julian performing with them for a short piece even though he does not perform much nowadays due to a neck injury. Unfortunately we missed out on a talk that he gave. I and my husband had a wonderful time on this cruise and have some lovely and enduring memories of it. It had a lovely international clientele which is part of the enjoyment of a Celebrity cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
booked in january to see what the refurb looked like and to try a shorter cruise,, couple days away!!! full of hens and stag chasing around the ship, drunk on top deck, loud... ordering rounds of drinks at the bar for around 15 people at a ... Read More
booked in january to see what the refurb looked like and to try a shorter cruise,, couple days away!!! full of hens and stag chasing around the ship, drunk on top deck, loud... ordering rounds of drinks at the bar for around 15 people at a time.. couldnt get to the bars, not enough staff, service terrible, food warm in fine dining restaurants... long waits to be seated although time slot booked.. one man came out shouting he had waited over an hour and the service was disgraceful... at times i agreed!!! if your going to cruise.. book yourself a 5 day + break where i am sure you will get the service and quality that RC are typically used to delivering.. certainly wouldnt recommend 2 day tasters... was a waste of money and not a pleasant experience!! we also had a cabin on deck 7 which i though had been refurb.. very old fasioned ,. def needs a makeover! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We booked this charter cruise via Voyage Privee at an amazing price. The lead prices were over the top and it looks like they had to be drastically reduced in order to fill cabins. Cruiseco, the charter company, really need to do their ... Read More
We booked this charter cruise via Voyage Privee at an amazing price. The lead prices were over the top and it looks like they had to be drastically reduced in order to fill cabins. Cruiseco, the charter company, really need to do their homework on pricing if they intend chartering ships out of the UK again. They also need to make sure that all agents have it available, as they seemed to be quite selective as to which agents they chose. We initially booked the cheapest inside cabin but were extremely happy to find that, when our documents were emailed to us, we had been given a balcony cabin! Quite a treat. We found our cabin to be of a good size and very well presented and clean. Our stewart did a great job every day and the towel sculptures made us smile! Embarkiation was relatively smooth, although there were very long queues at Southampton. However, once on board, everything went well. We chose to self disembark and had no problem in that regard. We absolutely loved everything about this cruise. The ships was great, all staff fantastic, food great too. We took the drinks package and felt it was well worth it. The choice of premium drinks on board is huge. There were 3 ports of call: Bilbao, Vigo and Lisbon. We had visited Bilbao before, so didn't venture into town on this occasion. Vigo seemed pretty small and we walked around and did our own thing. Lisbon was by far our favourite port, where we had booked a walking tour (independently). This was a fantastic way to the see the city and we plan on returning in the future to spend a few days here. Although we had freedom dining, we only ever ate in the buffet which served a fantastic choice of well cooked dishes. We were always extremely satisfied with the offering and couldn't find much to complain about. However, we did learn very quickly on the first day not to visit the buffet at 1 p.m. (peak time) as you will struggle for somewhere to sit. I guess this was made worse by the formal dining rooms not serving lunches during this cruise. As expected, the entertainment was wonderful and the atmosphere on board superb. We really hope that more cruises of this nature will be scheduled in the future, as we would jump at the chance to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
It was a cruise of misinformation. I(and MANY) and others feel as if we were on a practice cruise. Staff could NOT answer simple questions such as... where is an ATM, a bank, a place to exchange money., what do I do when I disembark ... Read More
It was a cruise of misinformation. I(and MANY) and others feel as if we were on a practice cruise. Staff could NOT answer simple questions such as... where is an ATM, a bank, a place to exchange money., what do I do when I disembark tomorrow, et.al..While overall the staff was VERY nice, friendly(as expected) the dining room staff seemed to be new/in training. Food was VERY inconsistent in the dining room. Example: prime rib, While VERY tasty, most of it was all fat.Lamb one night was very good;the next it was mutton/gamy There was no theme/logic to the food choices. This was a British Isle cruise. Only once was a native/regional dish served. Otherwise the choices might be German, Italian and Asian or a mix of something else on another night. It was as if the chef was cleaning out the freezer and just happened to serve whatever defrosted that day..Buffet breakfasts were consistently good. Disembarking was a nightmare. NCL only cared about the people who bought NCL excursions.Times advertised on land were ONLY for NCL excursions. Also we were never informed about what to expect/procedures once we got off the ship Frequently there were long walks to public transportation which involved unexpected lengthy trips(and costly).Once they let us off the ship early(8 A.M.) in a port that did not open until 10 A.M.. We were not even given a weather forecast for the next day;instead we were given the average temperature for that time of the year. I met MANY angry, disappointed passengers. One day the ship made a mistake of holding back non NCL excursion people for a good half hour and of course we all complained among-st ourselves. I would rate my overall experience 6.5. Like "they" say, when God gives you lemons make lemonade. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship primarily for the itinerary and that friends had been on the ship in Alaska and liked it. It is a sister ship to the NCL Pride of America that we used for our 25th anniversary group cruise around Hawaii and we thought ... Read More
We chose this ship primarily for the itinerary and that friends had been on the ship in Alaska and liked it. It is a sister ship to the NCL Pride of America that we used for our 25th anniversary group cruise around Hawaii and we thought that ship was nothing special, but fine. I actually liked the Jade far better. With the refurbishment done not long before our cruise, it felt like a brand new ship. I have been on over 20 cruises and I am no foodie, but felt like the food on this ship was the least enticing of any cruise yet (that said, I did still gain 2.5 pounds during the 24-day vacation, but I think most of it was due to all of the eating done in ports of call and the 12 days of vacationing before and after the cruise). There were some good items, but some ran out fast (like the cheese wonton appetizers on Asian night went before I even got to try one), and I am usually drawn to desserts on cruises and don't think I had a full dessert the entire cruise unless you count my one ice cream cone at the buffet. :O On the flip side, I don't usually consume alcohol on cruises, but our group of 31 got some free perks including the unlimited beverage package where even the 20% gratuity (which went up between when we booked and when we sailed, but it mattered not given our deal) was included, and so I had at least one drink each day. A favorite was the Emperor's Necktie (brandy based drink at Magnums), which somehow tasted like Christmas to me. The Rebellious Fish with blueberries was also pretty good. The best for many of us was the Rum Cake, which is a martini that is like a dessert and ever so yummy. The Honey Lemonade was surprisingly good. The mojito at Spinnakers was excellent and the Raspberry Guava Mojito at the Mojito Bar was also good. The mudslide was also good, but by the time in the cruise that I ordered it, they were out of straws (probably thanks to them giving two straws per drink early in the cruise for some reason I couldn't figure) and I didn't drink much as I felt it truly needed a straw. The nightly shows on this cruise were all worth attending. Our favorite was the show with just the two aerialists (married couple, I think, and could win a sexiest couple award), who were as good as any Cirque du Soleil show as far as mesmerizing entertainment. They also did a show with a magician that was good. And all of the dancers and singers were good. Britain is a country where tipping porters for cruises isn't expected, FYI (so I read online before the cruise), and it was nice not to have to fiddle with cash while dropping off bags. As for ports and shore excursions, we did all private excursions or DIY touring. For Portland, we used Discover Dorset and saw Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, and Corfe Castle (just outside as our time in port was short that day as we had to be back on the ship by 2:30, and our tour company said it wasn't much to see inside to make it worth paying to see as it isn't exactly cheap for just a quick walk into some ruins, and we instead had a drink and relaxed on a patio with a great view of the castle). For Cork, we used Butler Buses to visit Blarney Castle and have lunch in Kinsale (and The White House was a nice little spot for a beer and British fare). For Dublin, we went DIY and first stop was the Book of Kells at Trinity College, then we walked to Visit Dublin Centre to trade in our Groupon for a Dublin Pass and took the Hop On Hop Off bus to Kilmaheim Goal (prison with interesting history; this is where prisoners first got their own cells), then we took the bus again to stop 21a for the Church Bar and Restaurant (neat ambiance, but you pay dearly to eat and drink in this church) and Jameson Distillery (well worth the tour, and is included with the Dublin Pass, unlike our first two stops of the day), and then got back on the HOHO bus to get to the Guinness Storehouse (which we didn't like nearly as well as Jameson even though it has 7 floors and all sorts of activities..we liked the learn to pour a Guinness lesson and the bar on the top floor with amazing view of Dublin, though), and then we took an Uber (should have used a taxi that was right outside, but that was miscommunication with a friend's fault; the Uber driver was lost and took forever to get to us) to Temple Bar before taking a taxi back to the ship. For Glasgow, we did another HOHO bus after taking a train from Greenock (which was a much longer walk that I had read it would be and had we known, we would have taken a taxi to the train stop as much of the walk was steep uphill walking and we had a friend with leg issues who hadn't gotten a cane yet, but I got him one in a store at the port at the end of the touring) and never got off anywhere but just rode the full circle and then walked back to the train station and did quite a bit of shopping at one store, and then chatted with locals at a firehouse bar and restaurant in Greenock before shopping more near the ship. For Kirkwall and Invergordon, we use K with Exquisite Scotland Day Tours. In Kirkwall, we saw Gurness Broch, Birsay Causeway, Robert Stewart's Palace, Birsay Causeway, Skara Brae*, Skaill House, Ring of Brodgar, Stenness Stones, and St Magnus's Cathedral along with doing a little shopping around the church. For Invergordon, K took us to Black Rock Gorge (very neat place with water running 40 feet below a bridge with ferns on both sides), Foulis beach, Beauly Priory, Wardlaw Mausoleum (in Wardlaw Graveyard at the top of Wardlaw Road in Kirkhill, 8 miles west of Inverness..it was built in 1634 as the burial place for the Lovat Frasers and is listed as Grade ‘A’ by Historic Scotland, the highest level of importance), Loch Ness, Urquhart castle (from a view above it), and finished at Cawdor Castle (where he said, "Whatever you do, stay away from the maze!" as he figured we would get lost and miss the ship if we went in there. He prepared a fantastic picnic lunch for us to eat after the Urquhart Castle view visit. For Edinburgh, we again did a HOHO bus and saw Medieval Edinburgh Castle (which is like a Smithsonian with how many buildings are inside with different types of museums in them) and went on a tour at Real Mary King's Close and just walked along the main road. We both felt we could have used more time at this port (like days) and some in our group did go back there from London. In Newcastle, almost our entire group did the Victoria Tunnel Tour, which was two hours but quite interesting. We had to split into two groups of 15, and that was fine. The website says they can only take 15, but we arranged in advance to have two groups. After the tour, we had a terrific lunch at The Botanist and then walked along the main shopping street before grabbing a taxi back to the ship from outside of the Black Gate. Read Less

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