21 Southampton Singles Cruise Reviews

The ship was beautiful, very sturdy and we'll maintained. The staff in general were excellent, the service good, but the food was a real let down. It was either bland or too salty and overcooked. The Britannia restaurant was poor so ... Read More
The ship was beautiful, very sturdy and we'll maintained. The staff in general were excellent, the service good, but the food was a real let down. It was either bland or too salty and overcooked. The Britannia restaurant was poor so was the buffet on the Lido deck. So disappointing. Of the three cruise lines I have travelled on this was the poorest. My accessible cabin was wonderful, everything I asked for was there. The three companions I was with were happy with the service and the cruise generally. I I did not book any excursions as I travelled with a mobility scooter. The first shuttle bus was acceptable and helpful but at Lanzarote my companions and I boarded the bus and were dumped at the end of the new port. (Why go to a place closed on Sunday?) There were no shops or cafes available, and we were told we had to walk 20 minutes into town to see if anything was open. Alternatively we could risk taking a 20 minute taxi to the other side of the island to a possibly open market. As we did not know if we could get back we just got back on the bus and stayed on the ship. Overall very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
it's my first cruise, due to i am a solo traveler. Cruise line who provided solo cabin not many choose: Fred Olsen, P & O and Cunard- Queen Mary 2. I choose Fred Olsen finally because i saw comment with Fred overall is better ... Read More
it's my first cruise, due to i am a solo traveler. Cruise line who provided solo cabin not many choose: Fred Olsen, P & O and Cunard- Queen Mary 2. I choose Fred Olsen finally because i saw comment with Fred overall is better than another two company. Lucky i have made a right choice. i am satisfied my cruise trip. Itinerary: Day 1 : Embarkation at Southampton. I am arrived the QE II Terminal around 14:00, check in and security check process was smooth, it took around 20 minutes.The Palms Cafe and Thistle Restaurant provided lunch. Day 2: Sea Day (formal night) Day 3: Aviles, Spain Day 4: Sea Day Day 5: Bordeaux, France Day 6: Sea Day (British Night) Day 7: Falmouth, UK Day 8: Disembarkation Dining: Thistle Restaurant: Main dining room. Server and manager are friendly. They knew i was suffer in sea sick, they pay attention to assistance me and talking with me. Concern and humor is a good medicine^^ Al de carte menu or set menu during lunch time. 5 course fine dining in dinner. Great foods and good services (server details mind, good manner) Main course have 5-6 choices, usually is fish, beef, british cuisine, local cuisine(the port that you visit), pasta...etc sometimes have theme buffet / cuisine. have a seafood gala buffet: crab, mussel, lobster, sushi, cheese cake, opera cake, chocolate fountain. Supervise that have a ice engraved decoration, and the water melon was engraved as a rose. Palms Cafe: cozy atmosphere. Beverage self service, have cold brewer tea and Red tea, black tea, blend (sleep ) tea. But i did not find mint tea( i thought would provided on cruise ). A chef would make omelette in the morning. Bookmark Cafe: enjoy coffee and chocolate. Shop: Due to it's a small ship, i am not expect have a lot of products. They sell Fine jewelry, costume jewelry, watch, bags , ties, causal clothes and smart causal clothes, skin care and make up products. If you forgot bring clothes you could find essential items. Entertainment: they have live music and show daily. Sometime have magic show too. I am recommend the music show- One Vision. If you love Queen- the greatest rock band in UK. You should not miss the show. Activities: Have quiz, Fit ball, pilates, Nintendo WII bowling, jewelry making course...etc. I was join the jewelry making course. Use gemstone to made a pendant. (cost ten pounds) Shore excursions: I was join a shore excursions in Bordeaux. It's a half day tour(cost 40 pounds), one hour drive to Saint- Emilion. The tour guide introduce and bring us to visit the Great wall and the Cordeliers Cloister, than have 45 minutes to explore yourself. Afterward drive back to the port at 14:00. No complaint about the tour, i wish i could stay longer time would definitely perfect. Tips: Passenger and crew are friendly, it's a small ship and not too much people. You would easily to meet people on the ship. Passenger age from 50-80, they are enjoy and insist the cruise traditional norms: to dress up at night. I am sure you would enjoy and come out the night life with Fred Olsen. Moreover, they have dance host, that's mean if you a solo traveler, don't worry about to find a partner. conclusion: Fred Olsen is a traditional cruise ship, simple stage, a few dancers and singer. BUT they do in great performance. If you like live music , i am sure you would like it. Simple is the best! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I selected a farewell cruise on the Oriana, before she slips away to China. I was not disappointed with the ship, she still felt very special, it will be a shame to see her go. The cruise was an adults only, touring France, Spain and ... Read More
I selected a farewell cruise on the Oriana, before she slips away to China. I was not disappointed with the ship, she still felt very special, it will be a shame to see her go. The cruise was an adults only, touring France, Spain and Guernsey in June 2019. Well worth visiting the destinations, plenty to see and do , either using the tour excursions, or being an independent traveller as I did. It was all very safe. I enjoyed the cruise, but wished there had been a few more younger passengers, it seemed to be overrun with the "more mature aged" travellers. Zimmers all around the boat, a shame really. I guess that must be due to the time of year and maybe the smaller boat. The staff were lovely, as always on P&O working so hard and making the cruise a special one. I loved the sail away, great turnout, flags everywhere! Cabin good, inside one, with plenty of room. ~Great bathroom with bath and shower. Entertainment mediocre could do with changing the repertoire, P&O getting a bit boring and predictable with the headliners. Films and screenings, couldn't fault - excellent. Meals and restaurants - very high standard. Enjoyed the entertainments with music in the Crows Nest, some nice acts playing relaxed music - very nice indeed. So all in all an excellent cruise - thank you P& O. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my 13th cruise but my first alone,after the death of my wife in 2015,_the Norwegian Fiords were a place we had on our bucket list but never got to do it together so I decided it was time to take the plunge and see how life onboard ... Read More
This was my 13th cruise but my first alone,after the death of my wife in 2015,_the Norwegian Fiords were a place we had on our bucket list but never got to do it together so I decided it was time to take the plunge and see how life onboard alone was, a inside cabin was a first for me but it kept the cost down besides which I only wanted to sleep and shower in it and it was fine for me other than it having fold away bunk beds either side of my bed that made it somewhat cramped. I opted for first sitting dining on a table of 8 and found myself in the company of lovely friendly people 3 others than were alone and conversation flowed readily, daily menu was well varied as you would expect and excellent quality. The onboard entertainment was as good as any cruise I've ever taken but the Dancers & Singers in the Show were the best I've ever seen. Service was good and as with every other cruise cabin staff were always happy and smiling. First port of call was Stavanger and it was a easy stroll from the ship into town and get a feel for life in Norway, a very expensive country. I did one excursion in Flam and that was on the railway that traverses up the mountain spectacular views. Olden was a poor port of call apart from walking around the Fiord it was a day wasted. Bergen: This was the highlight of the cruise we has sunshine all day and it is without doubt the most interesting place to visit such a loverly harbour and a trip up the heights to look down on it. The trip back to Southampton was a nice calm sea and pleasant cruising, so my first experience as a single cruiser at 73 years was a a flood of past memories and I enjoyed it, I will choose another and look forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I'm writing this review as my others in sections. Sailing from Southampton UK. Embarkation/Disembarkation. As with all of my other P&O cruises, P&O have got this to a fine art. I had to be out of my digs at 1200 and I ... Read More
I'm writing this review as my others in sections. Sailing from Southampton UK. Embarkation/Disembarkation. As with all of my other P&O cruises, P&O have got this to a fine art. I had to be out of my digs at 1200 and I arrived at Southampton Docks around 1300. My car was taken to a long-term car park (provided free by P&O) and I went into the main check-in hall. This hall is huge with literally hundreds of people waiting. There were dozens of P&O check-in people on one side and we all had a coloured card with letter for our times. My check-in time was 1530 so I had a while to wait. I eventually checked in at 1500 and was onboard by 1530. I will say that there wasn't any refreshments available in the hall so if you're a bit hungry/thirsty, you'd have to wait till you're onboard or bring something with you. In a first, when I did get to my cabin, my bags were already there. On my last years cruise (also on Britannia) I had one bag there but the other I didn't get till around 2200-and this was after a "heated" discussion at reception. Disembarkation was very easy. I'm a "walk off". Thats someone who can carry their own bags with them. Walk-offs have to be off the ship between 0700 & 0800 (you have to be out of your cabin by 0800 anyway). I picked up my car and I was on my way home by 0830. Demographics. Exclusively British. I didn't hear any other accents onboard apart from the crew. As we travelled outside of the school holidays, there wasn't many families-and the ones that were had pre-school kids under five years old. The average age of the passengers I estimate to be middle age or a little higher-exactly what I expected. I was on another P&O ship in the Easter holidays in 2017 with around 400 kids. This was a nightmare with screaming kids running amok all over the place-but this time we had peace and quiet. The ship and it's crew. The vast majority of the ships crew are either Fillipino or Indian with the officers either British or European. All of the crew are extremely helpful and nothing is too much trouble. The ship itself is another story. Britannia is now three years old and is beginning to show her age. Carpets are looking worn and there are paint chips all over the place. The outside paintwork is starting to show rust patches and the general feel of the ship says that it's had a hard life. I've been told that Britannia is going for a full refit in October 2019-and I have to say that it's about time. I will add that the crew kept the ship spotless for the entire cruise with all of the public areas and toilets clinically clean. My stewardess-Gladys-kept my cabin perfect all the time (and she got a generous tip from me). Food and drink. I was on select dining (in the Peninsular restaurant) and had my evening meal at 1830. I was on a table of 9-all solo travellers. The food on offer was excellent and I can't fault it at all. Our waiters were very attentive-although I will say that sometimes they wanted to rush things along a bit-but they did have another sitting at 2030. The daily menus were a little underwhelming on occasion with fish and chicken being the dominant ingredient. We did have (Michelin starred chef) Marco Pierre White onboard for this trip and his menu one night was fantastic. Mr. White's Beef Wellington was superb. The Horizon Buffet on Lido deck was also very good. Breakfasts were usually "Full English" but there were other options including cereals, smoked fish, fruit, muffins/Danish (for breakfast?), yogurts...The list is almost endless. Lunch and dinner were equally as good with wide selection each day. There were themed menus too-curry night, British Pub Lunch, Italian. Again, the list is too long. As to alcohol...Thats another story. As with every other P&O review I've written, I still say that P&O are overcharging the passengers for alcohol. P&O claim that they charge pub prices. Not from my point of view they don't. Pints were around £3.95 to £4.50 with premium bottles (330ml) around the same price. In my regular pub, I pay £3.25 or a pint and if I go to my local Wetherspoons (to non-British readers, Wetherspoons is a major UK pub chain) I pay around £2.50 for a pint. So, no P&O are not charging pub prices. It's about time cruise companies lowered their alcohol prices and I'm certain that their passengers would appreciate it. Our route. We visited (in this order) La Coruna (Spain), Madeira, The Canary Islands-Las Palmas/Tenerife/Gran Canaria and Lisbon (Portugal). The weather was quite good all the time with temperatures in the mid-to-high 20'sC-sometimes in the low 30'sC. I did several trips in most of the ports (all official P&O excursions). Sightseeing in La Coruna, Volcanoes in Las Palmas and Tenerife and a coffee plantation on Gran Canaria. In Madeira and Lisbon I did my own thing just having a walk around. NOTE. If you do your own thing in ports of call and you miss the sailaway, the ship will not wait for your return. It will then be your own responsibility to get to the next port at your own expense. If, on the other hand, you take an official P&O excursion and you're delayed, the ship will wait for your return. Entertainment. There was the usual in-house troupe "Headliners" doing shows in the main theatre. There was also several guest singers/tribute acts and in the Limelight Club we had Claire Sweeney (UK actress/singer), Cheryl Baker-formerly of Bucks Fizz and a couple of others. I did hear reports of the "Headliners" not being too good but as I didn't attend any shows, I can't comment. Brodies had the usual pub quizzes, kareoke, live football matches (thats soccer to non-British readers). We also had Professor Peter Roberts-a retired archeologist who gave a series of lectures on volcanoes in The Canary Islands and others. The Professors lectures were very interesting but sadly not well attended. P&O need to get more people like Professor Roberts. Observations. All of the passengers were very friendly but...In the buffet one day (a late breakfast) I bumped into one of my fellow diners-an elderly lady who had a fall the day before. She had a very nasty black eye, stiches in her lip and severe bruising ot her left arm. I was enquiring as to her health when an elderly guy with a tray of food shouted "EXCUSE ME!". Just before this, someone had dropped a tray of food and drink and one of the crew was clearing it up. I couldn't move backwards or sideways to accomodate this bloke and he again shouted "EXCUSE ME!". Then he just barged his way through almost pushing people out of his way. I reacted to this bloke by shouting "YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOUT!". This he ignored. I again repeated "YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOUT!" but again this was ignored. By this time I had around 200 to 300 people watching. I will admit to not being a "people person" but this was just plain ignorant. Also on our dinner table there was an elderly lady with a southern (London or south coast) accent. She claimed to be travelling with "a friend" but we never met this friend and the lady said her friend preferred to dine at her own time. Why would two people travelling together not be dining together? Anyway, this lady thought that she was better than the rest of us and talked down to us all the time. She was also quite rude when she did talk to us but I had to bite my lip as I was in polite company. She didn't attend on a couple of nights and we all breathed a sigh of relief. I hope that I don't meet her again as I don't think I could hold back with comments about her atttitude. Overall, this was a good cruise but as I have been to some of the ports we visited on previous cruises, it did get slightly boring. Going on cruises does give you the chance to visit several countries on one holiday and you get to meet new people-but as the ships go to the same places all the time, it's getting difficult to find something new. I'm going to the Caribbean (again) in 2019 but I'l be looking further afield for 2020. I'm already looking at India or the Far East. As a solo traveller, it's not cheap do do cruises. I really want to visit Australia/New Zealand but as I'm a solo traveller, the costs are still far too high for my budget. The daily charge (£7 per person per day over 12 years old) was still in force on this cruise. This could be removed by filling in a form at reception. BUT as of May 2019, P&O are abolishing this charge-and about time too. This daily charge is VERY unpolpular and everyone I spoke to had removed the charge. It's about time all of the cruise companies stopped doing this. These trips are expensive enough without cruise companies taking more money out of your pocket. Conclusions. The ship-a bit tatty and in need of a refit. The crew-excellent. Food & drink-again excellent but I maintain that the beer prices are far too high. Our intinerary-ok but as I wrote above, I've been to some of the countries already. Marks out of 10? I'll give this eight out of ten. I've knocked off a couple of points for too high beer prices and the ship looking a bit tatty. I would recommend Britannia to first-timers and seasoned cruisers-but wait for the refit in October 2019. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I needed a break so short notice I booked the week prior to leaving. The whole process effortless and on arrival at Southampton this was further established as a very well run operation. I was a little concerned over travelling solo but ... Read More
I needed a break so short notice I booked the week prior to leaving. The whole process effortless and on arrival at Southampton this was further established as a very well run operation. I was a little concerned over travelling solo but apart from paying the extra to travel alone there honestly was nothing to worry about. My balcony cabin was perfect 9 steps from the terrace pool bar and restaurant from Riviera deck with easy access to Lido and above. Why kickstart well this cruise is the first real break in 2 years, have thrown myself in to work and given little back. So I purchased the drinks package in my case great value, great brands Tarquins Gin and Doom Bar Ale are a pre requisite for fun. The food excellent, Peninsula Restaurant and the waiting team Emmanuel Table 44 too good to be forgotten. Entertainment well hence the four from five rating it was enhanced by the presence of the Osmond's but the headliners although talented seemed to lack the soul they were trying to portray. Back to travelling solo I made some great friends and we all certainly were men not without hats! Itenary six days of great weather, only one wet day it would have been great if more entertainment were available on wet days. The Gym pool sauna and steams in the Oasis were fantastic and being surrounded by genuinely lovey people made the recipe for a great week. Book again? Yes Recommend? Yes Sparrowhawk on my Balcony? Yes Thank you Azura Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date August 2018
I chose this cruise for my birthday and wanted to try cruising alone. I was fortunate enough to be upgraded from a regular inside cabin to a "larger" inside cabin shortly before embarkation date so that was a nice surprise. ... Read More
I chose this cruise for my birthday and wanted to try cruising alone. I was fortunate enough to be upgraded from a regular inside cabin to a "larger" inside cabin shortly before embarkation date so that was a nice surprise. The ship is nicely decorated and, for a larger ship, doesn't feel TOO big. Unlike the mega ships Britannia still has a personal feel and after a few days onboard it genuinely felt like home. I found the overall layout of the ship a bit confusing, not helped by the fact that there are no central stairs meaning the only option is to wait a long time for a lift or to walk to the front or back of the ship for the stairs. There is no promenade deck on Britannia which is a shame but there was plenty of outdoor space to take walks. My cabin, A427, was nice enough and kept clean by my very friendly cabin steward. A bit of TLC here and there is required though as there were a few little dings, dents and marks on the walls and furniture in my cabin which I found surprising considering the ship is barely three years old. The dining options were plentiful and, being a solo traveller with little interest in making conversation with strangers, I mainly ate in the buffet. The food there was great in my view and there were different themes every night which made for a nice variety over the course of the cruise. The service was very attentive and I loved how special care was taken with those who have mobility issues, the servers were only too happy to help. The entertainment was hit and miss. Some shows were good, especially the "special guest" shows. However the regular shows performed by the ship's theatre cast ranged from mediocre to terrible, the exception being "Astonishing" which was very entertaining, if a little short. The service throughout the ship was attentive, friendly and fast. The bar staff were great and I found the drinks prices reasonable. The shop attendants were a little too pushy and I found the reception team a little rude, probably due to being overworked, but these are just nitpicks. Overall very nice service. We visited Stavanger, Flam, Olden and Bergen. The only two, in my opinion, that were worth visiting were Flam and Olden as they were surrounded with beautiful scenery and were very sparsely populated. Stavanger was just a regular city and frankly boring. Bergen was nice, they had a market on that day and it was interesting seeing how astonishingly expensive everything is in Norway! However there really wasn't much else there. I'd recommend taking as many excursions as you can afford as these will take you out of the less interesting locations and into the more beautiful and scenic areas of Norway. Overall I enjoyed the cruise and found the overall experience of travelling alone wonderful. I would (and will) be cruising with P&O again as I liked the friendliness and British familiarity on board. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was my third cruise with Oceania. Having been on the Marina my first reaction when I entered the cabin was “ it has shrunk”. The shower was tiny. As a solo traveller I have no idea how a couple would cope. The ship was tired. But ... Read More
This was my third cruise with Oceania. Having been on the Marina my first reaction when I entered the cabin was “ it has shrunk”. The shower was tiny. As a solo traveller I have no idea how a couple would cope. The ship was tired. But while on board Oceania announced their revamp. For the first time the shows actually contained some music from the 50 and 60. The last show was amazing. I was amazed to hear that a Florida had decided to can it. I hope they don’t go back to Broadway and Frank Sinantra (more my mothers era). Another positive was a focus on the solo travellers. I have asked before why Oceania don’t value their solo travellers only to be told the economic model is two people per cabin not one. This time they hosted 4 events for us and we were very grateful. John the cruise director was very friendly and efficient. Very focused on the US guests but they are the majority I suppose. Captain Max was also amazing with his talks and updates. He made us feel included and his talks were funny and educational. Great to have the free shuttles in port for those organising their own shore activities. The dress code was very casual. John kept asking people to comply with code but many ignored it. I did see a specialty restaurant turn away a guest dressed in track pants and joggers once. On the negative side, the food in the terrace cafe left a lot to be desired. Breakfast was just what one would expect. The other meal times were very ordinary. The Grand dining room was ok but after 20 days one was just eating much the same. The polo grill and Tuscany were top. The Ambassador was very abrupt. Maybe it was her culture. However previous cruise Ambassadors were more helpful. Her attitude was “ look in the books and handout and when u have decided come back. Otherwise don’t waste my time”. The internet is very poor. One connection per cabin. My travel companions had to have one person log off before the other one could use it!!! I had to keep logging off and on devices. Let’s hope this is included in Oceania Next!!! The beverage package is very expensive for what one gets. We went to a couple of wine tastings. The last one we paid $50 to drink what was included in our beverage package!!! Activities were limited but they flew in from US two bridge masters as they had about 300 people playing bridge. If u did not play trivia or bridge there was not much else to do on sea days but rest ( maybe that is an idea). Finally I must say how wonderful all the staff are. From the Captain to the dr and nurse ( very rough seas resulted in a visit to the dr) through to the cabin staff. No one said goodbye as we left the ship. Well with over 80% of return guests I guess that is not important. The trip has made me rethink if I should not explore some other lines ( have only been on Holland America) Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I had the opportunity to travel on the Britannia on May 13th on a lovely trip to Norway. I wanted to provide some comparisons of this ship and P & O in general vs. other lines that cater more to American travelers. I am an ... Read More
I had the opportunity to travel on the Britannia on May 13th on a lovely trip to Norway. I wanted to provide some comparisons of this ship and P & O in general vs. other lines that cater more to American travelers. I am an American and no offense is meant in some of my generalizations to either American or British folk. Ship The décor is beautiful yet understated. It feels more like a 5 star hotel than a ship. There is great use of color, blues, greys, golds and different venues decorated elegantly. The ship is the same “make and model” as the Royal Princess (and Regal). This includes some of the design flaws such as no mid-ship stairs, odd floor 7 bathroom availability, no Promenade deck. Some of these were corrected on the Regal Princess but persist on these 2 ships. The ship caters to folks from the UK, so there are some differences in how the ship is laid out and space is utilized. Atrium – Unlike the Royal there is only 1 atrium spiral staircase and the atrium is rectangular. Most shops are located on deck 6, making the shopping isolated. I liked this. The atrium is much more spacious. With that said, if you love entertainment and dancing in the Atrium, that is not what it is used for. There are several bars and coffee shops on deck 7 and 5, however, these are for lounging and relaxing. There is music that is played in the atrium, but it’s usually an accent and not the main attraction. If you are a dancer, there is a specific dance venue, where lessons and music are held. Crow’s Nest – The forward staterooms normally found on deck 16 (Lido) have been removed. They were replaced with a dining venue, several private rooms, and the Crows nest. The Crows nest is a beautiful bar with forward views of the upcoming destinations. A wonderful place for sail away, pre-dinner drinks or watching the scenic views. This is a wonderful change from it’s sister Princess ships which offer no forward- facing views. Pub and Casino – There is a very small Casino. Perhaps the 3rd of the size on American style ships. The remaining space is used for a Pub type atmosphere, Brody’s. If you go on a cruise with your primary objective being to gamble, this may not be the line to take. The pub is very nice and brings in a great fun crowd for sporting events, quizzes, bingo like games and of course on our cruise, the Royal Wedding!! Aft Bar – Beautiful. A wonderful place to relax in port or watch the ship’s wake. Decorated well despite being outdoors. Lots of comfortable seating. Another interesting way that the décor changed the feel of the ship and made it more like a hotel patio bar. Cabins – No differences here in shape/size, decorated quite differently. My opinion is it was a better utilization of space. There was one North American Plug, but the rest were UK style. One thing to note is that there were several plugs instead of only one. They do have a kettle for tea or coffee in the room. The shower has a glass door. I found that much nicer, but if you are a very large person this may not be as accommodating as a shower curtain. Pools – just as many pools but only a couple of hot tubs. This results in a more open deck, particularly in the Sanctuary, Adults area. Food & Drinks The food was absolutely fabulous. However, there were more pay for, ala carte options than you may find on a ship catering to Americans. There were several coffee shops that offered alternative coffee drinks from the buffet. Dining rooms had amazing food, I never had a bland meal, meals were always hot, the service impeccable. I don’t typically eat sweets, but I must say I did every night. So much more tasty than the other lines. As an American I was asking for things such as ice water, more ice in my drinks than most…all available. Buffet’s are buffets. They are not my favorite. Expect an English breakfast. Since folks are not as keen on ice, there was no ice machine in the buffet, however the cabin steward, waiters etc. all took care of this for me. There is an Indian style venue called Sindhu. It is my understanding this is on most P & O ships. British folk love their Indian, and it was quite good. There was usually some sort of curry available on the daily dining room menu and buffet as well. I love interesting food, and all of this was a great change. However, it was intended to be spicy and was. American’s should keep that in mind when booking a reservation. Don’t go if you don’t like spicy food and don’t complain that it is. In the “Glass House”, situated where “Crooners” would be on the Princess ship, they had a small venue that served food, or bites to eat. The food here was very good and also included some interesting dishes/small plates such as pate, sliders, cheese boards. Prices are not significant £3 - £7 ish. Now the topic of drinks. If you are a cruiser who goes on a cruise to imbibe on mixed drinks and expecting an American “pour” you will be disappointed. The shots are 1 ounce, a North American pour is 2 ounces. Expect a significant difference in cost of mixed drinks since you will order a double. Also, the pours are measured more so than on other lines. This includes wine/beer etc. However, if you are a beer drinker, there are several beers on tap in nearly every bar allowing for pints or half-pints at a reasonable cost. The wine is also reasonable, and many varieties by the glass and bottles. My one complaint about this ship, and frankly all ships in the Carnival Line I’ve been on, is that the wine is inconsistent between venues. The varietals in the Glass house were different from the Crows nest and different from the Aft Bar etc. This is not a P&O complaint, but a Carnival Line consistent challenge for me. Entertainment Just like any cruise there were shows, magicians, comedians, etc. However, none of the entertainment is positioned to be in your face unless you are in the venue. For example, there are several entertainers that play in the Atrium, but they are a compliment to the ambiance, not the main attraction. Very classy piano players, solo and duet acoustic guitar music at the Crow’s nest. The pub was typically crowded nightly with quizzes or Karaoke. Very interactive and American’s will probably feel a little “dumb” as the Brits know their history, music etc. and sure take those quizzes seriously. Sail Away heading back to Southampton was so fun. Union flags passed amongst the deck, a variety of British/UK songs and anthems. Lots of flag waving fun. I wouldn’t doubt at least 1/3 of the passengers participated. Service and Staff The captain/officers of the ship were interactive. Giving many points of information that you don’t receive on other ships, including some problems that we had on board. Ringing the bell at noon, “honking” the horn on queue at sailaway were always quite coordinated. The service staff is very professional. There is less casual interaction with the guests on the ship than you might see on a more American line. There were very few Americans/Canadians on this ship. The staff is trained to accommodate British tastes and service requirements. Staff was not used to MY accent and ways of requesting things. I had to adapt to them and not believe the world revolves around me. I would like to note that, this is why I travel. I loved that I experienced things differently, had to slow down my conversations, inquire more about different utilization of words or words I’d never heard. Importantly, I will say the staff did their best to accommodate my American taste for Bloody Mary’s, double drinks etc. Several ran to the galley to get things like tobasco and were always willing to consult me on my requirements. The one complaint that I had on this ship was Passport handling. I have drafted a separate letter to P&O and Carnival in general about that item. As an American on a British ship (this ship is registered in Southampton), my passport was collected and needed to be retrieved prior to the end of the cruise. It was not the collection that concerned me, but the caretaking of the passport by the staff. Costs Additional fees for coffee, dining venues, etc. are not new to the American traveler, but remind yourself how much you might spend on a Starbucks coffee daily. I didn’t find any of these to be unreasonable and didn’t have any complaints about the coffee, food I was paying extra for. There were just as many no cost items as any other cruise ship, however, this one had more options. Rules American’s should take note of a couple things that I did not mention above. Folks dress up at night, most nights. It is not required, but this wasn’t the venue to wear ratty jeans on smart casual night. On formal nights men wear tuxes, kilts etc. and women wear gowns. Queuing is an art for Brits. No one cuts the line and when someone is in greater need such as wheelchair bound folks, they are keen to allow that person priority access to elevators. I wouldn’t doubt that folks might scold anyone who didn’t adhere to this. It was made clear by the captain himself, that parents were in charge of their children. There weren’t many children, but parents had a handle on them. When a baby cried, parents took them out of the dining room or venue, children are expected to dress appropriately for dinner etc. Thank you P & O! I highly recommend this note of advice to parents on all ships in the Carnival line. There was no yelling, shouting across the Atrium or even overt drunkenness. Misc. & Overall This was my favorite cruise of all time. I have been cruising since 1976, have logged 100 days on Princess, 50 days on Carnival, done some Royal Caribbean cruises as well as Viking. The destinations (Norwegian ports), the ship, the service, the food was all exceptional. I found very little to complain about and enjoyed it thoroughly. I spoke to other passengers and they discussed how they like American style ships and the atmosphere. This speaks to how truly folks like to “get away” from the every day. I found this particular journey to be nothing less than spectacular and understood I was a token American on a British ship. Thank you for reading! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise mostly because of the itinery, we had been with Celebrity previously and wanted to compare the two. Celebrity was a quieter cruise and didn't have the promenade where everyone gathered so didn't have the same ... Read More
We chose this cruise mostly because of the itinery, we had been with Celebrity previously and wanted to compare the two. Celebrity was a quieter cruise and didn't have the promenade where everyone gathered so didn't have the same atmosphere as RC. We arrived at the port around the time we had been given for boarding and this is the only place we had to queue, once on board we went for a quick drink before going to our cabin. After dropping the bags off it was time to explore and we were surprised by what we found, so much to take in and it took a while to get our bearings but we enjoyed the experience of ending up somewhere different to where we had planned. The service from the staff couldn't be faulted, we never saw one grumpy face and I am sure there were some tired people on there as they work such long hours. We ate in the main dining room each evening, we were going to try the other restaurants but the food we were given was such good quality that we didn't feel the need. One tip is that for some reason they are not big on vegetables so order extra and after a couple of days your waiter will remember even if you forget. All in all a fabulous holiday and great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The Crown is an older ship and needs work! During 14 day cruise the spa pool was closed at least 4 times for 'maintenance' including our 1 sunny at sea day. Deck hands and other crew were all giving conflicting information as ... Read More
The Crown is an older ship and needs work! During 14 day cruise the spa pool was closed at least 4 times for 'maintenance' including our 1 sunny at sea day. Deck hands and other crew were all giving conflicting information as to what the issue was. This was more frustrating than the fact that the pool was closed. Get your story correct and tell us the truth! Carpets in several areas (indoors and outdoors) were ripped, frayed and in poor condition. Several railings were missing or in slow process of being replaced. Several bar stools overlooking aft pool were too lose and wobbly to sit on. Many of the staff don't seem as happy as on other ships. The service in the dining rooms was the worst I've experienced in all my cruising. They still haven't mastered anytime dining! I went on this cruise to Norway for the scenery and Midnight Sun which was all fantastic! The ports were all good. Disembarkment was a nightmare due to fact that there was only 1 gangway in use. That's probably an issue of Southampton and not Princess. Even though I was disappointed with condition of ship and service level, I still gave this cruise 4 stars because of the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Overall the ship was excellent value and the menus were fine dining. I never experienced one poor meal. The only negative I can speak of is that solo travellers are not catered for at meal times ie constantly asking for a large table with ... Read More
Overall the ship was excellent value and the menus were fine dining. I never experienced one poor meal. The only negative I can speak of is that solo travellers are not catered for at meal times ie constantly asking for a large table with other singles and getting couples or a couple was daunting.As lovely as the people were, it wasn't ideal until I went to afternoon tea for singles and befriended a group who we finally got to dine together. So if P&O say they cannot accommodate diners then surely if the afternoon tea works what is the difference. There were about thirty singles so not an odd one or two. The first excursion I thought was really poor, driving us to a deserted beach for a ten-minute photo opportunity was a total waste of money ie £35,00. The second excursion you could have done yourself by just walking up to the railway. If you wanted to see the Glaciers it would have cost you over £75 to £95.Entertainment was excellent with good singers and shows. The comedians were ok. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
As a first time single traveller and first time with P&O I was understandably nervous about this cruise. First impressions were I disliked Britannia, however as the days went by I got to like the intamacy of the ship, so many places to ... Read More
As a first time single traveller and first time with P&O I was understandably nervous about this cruise. First impressions were I disliked Britannia, however as the days went by I got to like the intamacy of the ship, so many places to go and never crowded, even on sea days. Food was dull and repetitive and too British, waould have loved to be served regional food from the counties visited. Sailaway parties were awful and best avoided, Rule Britannia and Gos Save the Queen just made me cringe! Cabin F331 great, well appointed and suited my need nicely. All the staff were amazing, can't praise them enough. Specially restaurants amazing, and the Limelight Club amazing, Madeline Bell and Jackie Graham were awesome. Loved the Live Lounge, The ship Group Pulse were great and made me want to dance! Overall a great holiday, but a warning to single men, keep your status to yourself or you may receive far more attention from the single ladies than you bargained for! As for being too British I was disappointed not to meet people from other countries, the Brits can be a bit insular and extremely negative, far to many unjustified moans were heard! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Great cruise which took in Cadiz, Messina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice & Gibraltar. Past P & O cruisers but our first time on Aurora. Lovely sized ship - not too big. Atmosphere felt very friendly & relaxed - maybe as the average ... Read More
Great cruise which took in Cadiz, Messina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice & Gibraltar. Past P & O cruisers but our first time on Aurora. Lovely sized ship - not too big. Atmosphere felt very friendly & relaxed - maybe as the average age of passengers was late 60's / 70's. At times it could feel like we were on a Saga cruise - we are 43 and 44, but our fellow cruisers were in the main really pleasant and sociable. Entertainment was varied in the evenings - excellent resident band Caravan who could perform a wide range of genres, Headliners Theatre Group performed energetic song and dance routines such as Abba, Queen, and Motown. Some guest acts - we saw an excellent Tenor called Roy Locke and a vocalist called Claire Bunso who did a great Shirley Bassey tribute. Tom O'Connor was also performing - we did not see him but were told he was very good. There was also a comedian/variety act on for 2 nights, some classical musician acts, and a unique ukulele act but we did not see these. The daytime entertainment was somewhat limited and I felt geared more to the older cruisers - Line Dancing, Quoits, Shuffleboard, Bingo, Watercolour Art classes, Whist, Bridge and other Dance classes. There is a cinema with 1 or 2 films daily at various times which were pretty good. Our cabin had a Balcony, a shower over a small bath, and a small sitting area - perfect for our needs. It was kept very clean by our steward who was friendly and approachable. The food on board was very good - great selection in both the Horizon Buffet ( referred to by some as the "smash & grab " ) and the main dining rooms. The specialty restaurants were really good and Sindhu in particular was well worth the supplement. We ate there twice as it was so good. We had done some research in advance so only went on 2 shore excursions, one of which was simply a transfer from Messina to Taormina. The Game of Thrones Tour in Dubrovnik was fantastic taking in the old town and some beautiful gardens where we were shown around filming locations by a lady who had been an extra in the series. The other ports we explored on our own but we heard very good feedback about some of the tours. There was an excellent member of staff called Sam who did regular port talks and even did a commentary as we sailed into Venice. Each port was different and we enjoyed our time in each one. There were 3 pool and jacuzzi areas on this ship. The Terrace Pool at the back was very peaceful with a small number of sunbeds. the shops onboard sold the usual cruise fare and in my opinion could do with updating. The size of this ship meant that unlike on some larger ones, you would often bump into the same passengers for a chat which was really lovely. Whilst this ship would probably be a bit boring for those who like more activity / nightlife, it was a really relaxing experience. The captain Wesley Dunlop is quite new to P & O. It was lovely to see him greeting passengers as we went ashore at a couple of ports. We enjoy the Black Tie nights and there were 4 of these on our cruise. Finally, there was some gastro-intestinal illness a few days into the cruise. Increased hygiene measures were introduced and it was kept under control as a result. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Second Voyage on the Eclipse for me and will not be the last. Very easy embarkation, took longer to walk to the ship from check in than to go through the check in process. Ship is still as good as last time but couldn’t see many ... Read More
Second Voyage on the Eclipse for me and will not be the last. Very easy embarkation, took longer to walk to the ship from check in than to go through the check in process. Ship is still as good as last time but couldn’t see many differences from last time despite it being in dry dock and upgraded from last time, only differences I could see were 2 new plasma screens and new fridge cabinets of beer in the passport bar that now serves food on the bar from a kitchen somewhere else on the ship. The new luminae restaurant was open but not open to most guests and the new frozen drinks bar on the pool deck that was not open, other wise everywhere was the same and as good as I remember it from last time. The staff onboard could not be anymore friendly and helpful, and the house bands singers and cast are superb. Some of the first guest entertainers were not good and I thought I may have made a mistake and left the theater half way through to return to the superb music of the house bands and orchestra but then Jayne Curry arrived and the top quality entertainment I expect from the eclipse began and all the guest entertainers after that were of a high standard. Some things could have been better but that applies to all ships, things like Café al Bacio always being full of people sitting there all day playing cards and knitting and therefore making it impossible to ever get a seat in there most days, a few days music was scheduled in there and couldn’t get a seat and the crowd noise drowned out the string players so was a shame as they were very good but probably only the front table could hear. Imigration was a nightmare in Boston a line the length of the ship formed before we even docked of people desperate to get off by the time we docked the queue was from the dinning room across the ship down to the casino then u turned back to the lifts across to the dining room again then past the other lifts and through the martini bar past the shops and to celebrity central, this was mostly caused by people not turning up at the allocated time and people getting off the lifts and pushing into the line. Sue, Marteen and a couple of the entertainment staff tried to help but it was total chaos. Second immigration was organized better with us all getting a number and being called in groups and not just the mass stampede of before. Ports of call were all good. Excursions were good except for after getting off in Miami, I took an excursion to the Everglades on a airboat trip. The bus was old and the aircon was raining water onto lots of peoples heads, the microphone and speakers on the bus did not work so the guide who pointed out places of interest on the way to and from the airboats couldn’t be heard, the bus company should not be used by Celebrity or any other cruise line as its not fit for purpose, the airboat was an ok excursion when we got there but I was expecting it to be a wildlife trip but it was more about going fast and being thrown around in a airboat and getting soaked in swamp water! As it was part of the package I will also mention the EB Hotel in Miami. A top class hotel with beautiful rooms, however the restaurant and bar have a limited menu and very slow service waited 45 mins for a slice of cheesecake, think they popped to the supermarket for it as it took so long, also each day piped music is played loud and they set up for a DJ each evening so someone is always walking round with a microphone going 1 2 12, other down side is its 30 dollars each way by taxi to get anywhere. As we were a big group off the ship and nearly all on the same flight the 12 seat shuttle service could not cope on airport day so I paid 16 dollars for a cab. Flew back on Virgin Atlantic and worst flight I have ever had. Was in Premium economy and the footrest was broken and stuck in the up position so useless and the headphone socket was also broken so no sound to the movies unless you held the headphones half in the socket at a 45 degree angle making it uncomfortable and if you moved a mm you lost the sound until you could find the exact spot to get the sound back, ended up sitting looking into the blacked out cabin for most of the flight bored, no drinks service to speak of, no snacks. I was given a menu then told some of the meal choices were not available and what was served was bland and was the same as economy section, breakfast I wouldn’t have fed the dog and was stuck with the tray on my lap for ages as the crew disappeared again.. First and last time on Virgin Atlantic, I have flown budget airlines and economy many times and had much better food, service and entertainment than this. Last time I flew from Florida was in economy and the airline was voted the uk worst airline and went bust a few weeks after but it was miles better than Virgin. So in summary great cruise, hotel ok if your just staying overnight to go to the airport otherwise get something in the town of Miami that you can use things like the hopon hoppoff bus etc. and the flight well for me it will never be Virgin Atlantic again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
It was a first time with P&O. Previously we had cruises with Norwegian Jade and AIDAstella. We wanted to see the new brand ship with really british traditions. We are a couple at age 60 and 59. Mostly the cruise was very good, ... Read More
It was a first time with P&O. Previously we had cruises with Norwegian Jade and AIDAstella. We wanted to see the new brand ship with really british traditions. We are a couple at age 60 and 59. Mostly the cruise was very good, starting from well organized check in, nice cabine, excellent food for dinner. Excellent dinner and afternoon tea in Epicurean restaurant. Embarkation was very smooth. We came with taxi from our hotel in London at 13:00 and after 30 minutes due to very good organization we got our cruise cards. The ship is modern with very nice interiors, especially in the atrium. Another nice place was a Crownest bar at the deck 16. But sometimes it was difficult to find seats there. We had the second sitting at the Oriental resaturant and the meals were delicious and various. The waiter was very helpful. The reception desk worked well and the staff was very friendly. We took two shore excursions from the ship: in Andalsnes and in Bergen. They were very interesting but too expensive. We visited exciting places ath these locations. The cabin we received was inner E207 and its size was accetable. To our dissapointment we got twin statesroom instead the double and it was no possibility to transfor the two beds for one. However the cabin was comfortable and the facilities were good. The cabin was cleaned great by the responsible person and we appriciate his work. Shortcomings Absence of stairs at the middle of the ship starting from the 7th deck. Sometimes it was difficult to get from one deck to another in the midpart of the ship. Lack of open areas at deck 7 did not allow to walk around the ship like in our previous cruises. The walking on the upper decks does not replace it. Tickets for shuttle bus in Bergen were organized very bad. The entertaitments may be better. The level is rather poor except the invited persons. Ecpesially we enjoyed the violinist Miriam Kramer. English breakfast at Horizon bar was not regular for us. Certainly, the meals are like in UK or USA hotels. We continued with the next cruise on this ship to Biscay so we did not use disembarkation. The second cruise B508 had its specific features and we will describe it separately. In the future we want to try a cruise with another P&O ship because we enjoed this one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My very first solo holiday taken because of low 'singles' price. Interesting comparing prices people had paid and 'extras' they had received. Boarding was very quick and my inside cabin was large and spotlessly clean. ... Read More
My very first solo holiday taken because of low 'singles' price. Interesting comparing prices people had paid and 'extras' they had received. Boarding was very quick and my inside cabin was large and spotlessly clean. Cabin steward, Edwin, unfailingly helpful and friendly. First lunch in Windward was chaotic and unfortunately it didn't improve, similarly at breakfast. Plenty of staff serving drinks, would have been better employed finding seats. I usually finished up taking my food on deck and trays would have helped instead of queing for each course. There was plenty of choice but overall only average quality. Dinner was fair but not as good quality as on other company cruises. The dining rooms are lovely. The service varied. I had the soda package but in public area as a solo elderly female was often ignored. Think having to pay extra for fresh orange juice, Johnny Rockets, Ben & Jerries and Portofino wa extras a rip off. Italian food is very cheap to produce yet is $20. Tea bags in cabin but no coffee. I booked tours on line only to find there was much more choice once on board, although they are very good about 'swopping' Always plenty of sunbeds and deck chairs but don't lose your towel or you will be charged $25. Gets crowded round pools but aft and side decks plenty of room. Always plenty of room in the theatre, shows varied from awful to superb. The service charge that is automatically added to your account can be removed so you can tip where it's deserved. I did this and gave substantial tips to cabin steward, waiter and assistant waiter. For the price I paid it was value for money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I had a fabulous time as a single traveller on board Azura. I found all staff to be friendly and helpful. I think if you are polite and well mannered and treat them how you would expect to be treated then that's what you get. I ... Read More
I had a fabulous time as a single traveller on board Azura. I found all staff to be friendly and helpful. I think if you are polite and well mannered and treat them how you would expect to be treated then that's what you get. I found the cabin to be spacious, clean and well decorated. I was at the front of the ship which does mean though you get the pitch and the swing when you are in storms. We did encounter a force 11 and 2 force 8 which weren't mentioned in the captains log and perhaps should have been. You are better off in mid-ship if you are seasick. I was fine during all storms. I was awake during the force 11 but having previously been in a force 10 felt I was safe although yes at times it was a tad scary. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all aspects of the ship and used the Horizon guide as my bible to pick my own entertainment throughout the days. This Horizon was a god send to me. The entertainment was fabulous. I thought this of the entertainment:- Peter Piper -Hillarious The Four Tops -the best act of the whole cruise by a mile. Steve Larkin - was absolutely fantastic as Freddie Mercury. The theatre group - the Headliners -were awesome -to put on the amount of variety of shows during the cruise must have took some doing!!! Fabulous! Elton John, Peter Cutler and other comedians were poor for my taste. I agree I couldn't get into the pools due to the children but it is the Summer holidays so I expected that anyhow! I was a little disappointed also that as a strong swimmer there is no shallow end in the pools. The pools however were well maintained -every morning I saw them being thoroughly cleaned out! The food -I was on club dining. The waiters were superb and couldn't do enough for you! If there was nothing you liked on the menu he would sort something else for you - and the quality was of a fantastic standard! The room stewardess was superb and very friendly and we had several good conversations! Malaga! Malaga was pretty disappointing -more of a building site and I found the tour boring -fell asleep on the coach -oops! Kefalonia Superb -did natural wonders and an amazing trip in cave and on a boat!Korcula -did the Riviera cruise and a beautiful island! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Guernsey,France & Spain 6th Aug 2011 7 Nights My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good and ... Read More
Guernsey,France & Spain 6th Aug 2011 7 Nights My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good and P&O send a beautifully presented bound folder with all the information about your cruise, excursion information and ready printed luggage labels. We arrived at the Ocean Terminal in good time and after leaving our car with Cruise & Passenger Services we had a short wait before checkin. Then it was through security and onto the ship. All our cases arrived within a very short time of arriving in the cabin. Our Balcony Staterooms on Britannia Deck were compact but clean and well presented. There were decent wardrobes and good shelf space but good size drawer space was lacking. The ensuite had a shower only but there was always plenty of hot water. The TV was very out of date and the picture quality was poor. The balcony doors were extremely heavy, and in the case of my elderly Mother's cabin very stiff due to lack of maintenance. Maintenance were called later on but some adjustments made very little difference. After a freshen up it was off to the Plaza (Lido Cafe) for a drink and something to eat. The food here was generally very good indeed, with a wide range of hot & cold food available, in the evening sometimes with a particular theme. It has to be said however that the level of waiter service and organisation in the Plaza was nothing like as good as on the Crown Princess we cruised on the previous week. Help usually had to be requested and there were much fewer staff available for this. Also Butter, Jam and UHT milk were all in small pots in large bowls, which we felt did not assist hygiene matters (see our separate report of the Crown Princess). We never had to queue when using the Plaza. It is also worth mentioning that hand gel was actively insisted upon whenever anybody entered the cafe and was freely available in all areas throughout the ship. Our evening meals were taken in the Adriatic Restaurant where we were on a table for eight. Our Table waiter and his assistant were very efficient catering for our every need. The quality of the fish and meat at times however left a great deal to be desired, and pastry items were often very solid. Afternoon Teas were also served in the restaurant and these were most enjoyable, with a wide variety of sandwiches, cakes and scones to choose from. The layout of the ship is good, very easy to get around with the Promenade Deck containing most of the public lounges, bars and theatres. The Piazza (Atrium) which covers three decks is the central hub with an attractive Coffee Bar and some shops on the other levels. One major hassle however is the elevators. These are slow and the direction indicators are poor with virtually no audible warning of arrival. On occasions the call button lights would go out but no elevator would appear. All this resulted in much frustration and delay and at times people just gave up and used the stairs. Attended only one of the shows by the resident company, but volumes were far too loud and so left after a short while. Joined in some of the deck games and evening quizzes which were well run by pleasant entertainment staff. PORTS OF CALL ST PETER PORT, GUERNSEY The only tender port on the cruise. The short crossing to the landing stage was a bit bumpy particularly on return. A local coach driver was our guide for this short afternoon tour, which took us on a circular route around the island. Generally we were not over impressed, it is pretty enough but some how lacked the wow factor. We also missed going through the town, which was closed off due to a charity event. BREST Did not leave the ship here as we had no tour booked, so can't comment on this port. LA ROCHELLE It was a pleasure to return to this attractive but very busy port. Our afternoon tour took us first to the little town of Saintes, where we visited the Cathedral of Saint Pierre. The second destination was the La Roche Courbon (Courbon Castle). Transformed into a residence in the 17th Century it was restored in 1920 and a tour of the interior revealed a series of interesting rooms many with painted wood panelling and beams. The gardens, best viewed from the terrace, are beautifully kept with a large ornamental lake dominating the scene. Our excellent and knowledgeable guide provided a continual commentary on the many historical facts of the region while we viewed the unspoilt French countryside on our return journey. BILBAO No tour booked here, but took the free shuttle bus into the centre to visit the Guggenheim Museum. You may have to queue to get in, I waited about twenty minutes and a further ten minutes to get my ticket and free audio guide. I found the building difficult to navigate, with galleries scattered all over the different floors and the signage is very poor. The audio guide was OK if you wanted to spend time listening about the building, but not much use for the galleries. On my visit there was a mixture of Abstract art displays and other more 'off the wall' sort of exhibits. However I enjoyed the visit and seeing the building. LA CORUNA Booked a short afternoon tour here and took in some of the city highlights with a stop at the Tower of Hercules, Europe's oldest working lighthouse. We enjoyed some drinks and snacks at a local hotel before returning to the ship. An excellent well informed guide looked after us all. Disembarkation was smooth and trouble free and all the cases were grouped in Deck Order which made it much easier to locate them. Overall an enjoyable cruise on a well run ship, with good service, accommodation and food. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011

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