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88 Southampton to Spain Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding Anniversary and the special offer price was too attractive to turn down. We were let down by Guest Services in Suffolk regarding this but the staff on board more than made up it. Stephen ... Read More
We choose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding Anniversary and the special offer price was too attractive to turn down. We were let down by Guest Services in Suffolk regarding this but the staff on board more than made up it. Stephen and Gustie in the Thistle were great. The food was better than expected with lots of choice. Our Cabin stewardess Patti offered service above expected and James in the Observation Lounge remembered our cabin number after the second visit to the bar. Jeffery in guest services sorted out head offices issues! In my opinion the art works left a lot to be desired. The one in our cabin was awful. It would have been useful to know that all the museums but one were closed In Lisbon on a Monday and Cadiz was closed on Sunday (the days we visited). The drinks package was good for adults but for anyone aged between 12-17 years it was a waste of money unless you were prepared to rot your child's teeth with at least 9 fizzy drinks a day. Yet you had to pay adult prices for the children if you had anyone of this age in your cabin. Very unfair Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Previous wonderful experience with Fred Olsen over the past fifteen years. Sadly, will go with them no more unless they get back to their previous excellence. It appears that the ' Bean Counters ' have taken charge. Cruise prices ... Read More
Previous wonderful experience with Fred Olsen over the past fifteen years. Sadly, will go with them no more unless they get back to their previous excellence. It appears that the ' Bean Counters ' have taken charge. Cruise prices have rocketed by up to 70% ( beware ' Anchor Fares ' you will be second class guests even having to pay a large sum for a couple of clicks on a computer to change your unfavourable dining time ). Quality of food has fallen dramatically, they used to have the very best food, now the meat is tough ( pork steaks, veal etc. ) Food in the self service buffets is always no more than very lukewarm, cold bacon, uncooked vegetables, far less than al dente, just dipped in warm water. The breakfast marmalade and jams are cheap, bulk bought and tasteless in open dishes rather than the tasty individual sealed packs and immediately adjacent to wheat bearing bagels so the crumbs can contaminate the jams with gluten. Scrambled eggs very cool and so runny they could be poured; horrid. Never once was steak or prawn cocktails on offer, unlike other cruise lines where they are staple every dinner. A New Maitre D' needed, bring back Mr Angel. Same guest artists twice each in 7 nights. Good theatre company, though. No interesting guest speakers Captain waiter in Palms never once spoke to us, not even a greeting. We ate there over 30 times. Dirty looking, food ingrained table mats in Palms restaurant, no doubt bacteria bearing. Mentioned this but they were only ever wiped over with a damp cloth, and, to think, cruise lines worry about Norovirus !! Only place where good food available is The Grill, at £20,00 per person extra, but even that is over priced, no soup on menu. Only good coffee on the ship in there. We have recommended Olsen to many friends and obtained many customers for them but we can no longer do so as there is far better value on other cruise lines. We have three further cruises booked, none of them with Fred Olsen. Only consolation of this cruise was the wonderful staff (mostly ) Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The food and entertainment were excellent. The shows (including (Gareth Gates) were west end standards and the ships band were the best. A good choice of food was always available as was the ice cream, unlike P & O! We've been ... Read More
The food and entertainment were excellent. The shows (including (Gareth Gates) were west end standards and the ships band were the best. A good choice of food was always available as was the ice cream, unlike P & O! We've been on most of the cruise lines before, including a previous Princess, but this has to be one of the best ships. The cabin steward, bar staff, restaurant staff, were so polite and obliging. The ship itself, although built in 2004, had obviously had a recent update. The bed in our cabin was king size and very comfortable. The only negative thing I could find was the choice of beers! All lager types apart from Bass (brewed in USA!!!) and the tasteless John Smiths and Boddingtons. Here's where P & O score points as they have a good choice of British Beers. Princess, take note!!! Definitely go with Princess again though. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. Fred Olson passengers must be some of the most loyal and supportive of any customers in any business in the world. I never heard any compaints at all. My compaints cover penny pinching:- 1. I am diabetic so upon boarding the ship i needed a sandwich at around 4 pm to last me to 8-30 dinning. I was sent to Palm cafe and was given the most disgusting cheese and ham sandwiches. both the cheese and ham were cut so thi that you could not tast them. 2. Both my wife and I paid £150 each for the drinks package. I am diabetic so drink diabetic drinks such as Diat pepsi or diet lemonadw. the first time I asked for a pint of diet Pepsi. Answer came back you can have pints of beer or larger but only halves of diet drinks. Ok I said I will have 2 halve. No was the answer you must drink one then ask for another. . It is in the small print rules. I would have been happy to drink just the diet drinks on the full cruise but to get my own back ordered enough wine each evening to use a full bottle each night. 3. I am an International Director of Operations and use a vodafone IPAD whenever I am overseas. I paid £50 for 5 nights up front. For 2 nights I could not send emails and on the third Fred Olson lady linked me to Google to send messages. My advce to people would be purchase 1 days WIFI and check first. My advice to Fred Olsen would be to do the same as most hotels these days and give free access to WIFI on board your ships. I started my working life as an Accountant with Glaxo, British Oxygen working my way to Finance director. I then became MD and CEO of an Anglo/American company. The reason I mention this is that I started off looking for pennies to turn into pounds of saving but as an MD I learnt to make judgements on how to make savings that were not petty and would harm the company reputation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were ... Read More
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were badly handled and information had to be submitted several times.I let that go as one of those things. Once on board , every time I bought anything whether in the restaurants , shops ,bars etc the bill presented left a line for adding a tip. This despite having prepaid gratuities as recommended by the cruise line. That is appalling. The cabin service by the stewardess was efficient. The room service orders arrived prompt ,served efficiently and by nice staff. The waiters allocated to our table were excellent ( so I tipped generously). Otherwise, things are not good. The food was indifferent, sometimes the portions were meagre . Classic dishes were often spoiled , being accompanied by a bit of boiled vegetables. Appetisers were particularly bad, better to have none at all. The buffets were of inferior cafeteria standard. The breakfast buffets were basic and tired , the bread available dreadful. As for the coffee throughout the ship (in the restaurants, the buffets, breakfast ,etc it was dire, dreadful, weak, thin . Similarly with tea , the water for which was never hot enough. So weak tea was served throughout. The only way to have decent tea or coffee was to buy and pay for it in a specialist coffee shop. The wine lists were absurd. At the beginning of the wine list 5 recommended fine wines were listed. When ordering one of these , after waiting 10 minutes, I was told they didn’t have it. So I chose an alternative, that was also not available and so on with 4 of their own recommended wines! The wine waiters didn’t know much about wine. So nothing on this ship for wine lovers. The entertainment on board was basic holiday camp fare, except for two excellent guitarists often playing some of the lounges. The activities available were standard fare. The gangways at most ports were badly arranged - given that they knew most passengers were elderly - steep stairs were in use. Bad enough for many to struggle descending , much worse when ascending on returning to the ship. Claims that they were restricted by the tides did not check out, as they could ramp or extend the steps to make them easier. Overall, the ship has a downmarket feel and the cruise line seem unmoved by making life better for its customers. I shall not be using it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Good value for money two nights in Barcalona Bad bits The food in the self service was never very warm which spoilt it not 4 star more a 3 star The drinks were extremely expensive my self and husband don't really drink I ... Read More
Good value for money two nights in Barcalona Bad bits The food in the self service was never very warm which spoilt it not 4 star more a 3 star The drinks were extremely expensive my self and husband don't really drink I had two alcolic drinks a snowball and a glass of wine we mainly had cokes Husband had 3 beers drinks of beer was 15 percent service charge on top of every Drink we had a total of 12 drinks two of which was coffee £140. The coffee shop tried very hard to sale us a package of 10 coffees at 34 dollars which we were told would be better we declined the offer it did spoil the cruise. Where ever you were sitting on the boat drinks would be offered all the time, I have To add that juice and coffee could be had free in the self service restaurant. Apart from the moan already stated it was a lovely cruise the shows were mainly Good getting on and off the ship very good. We had been phoned from a firm offering us transfers to our hotel in Barcalona cruise Critic was there agent my husband and myself are not young husband had rheumatoid Arthritis we had paid for this with the cruise 6 people waited outside Outside. The terminal for 30 minutes in temperatures in the 80s no where to sit in the end we paid for a taxi as We were feeling unwell in the heat. they were also booked to take us back to the airport From the hotel we could not take that risk that they would not turn up and we would not Get back to England money wasted so people beware. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise to coincide with my husbands birthday. From day one we had a fantastic time The cabin with balcony was spacious, the bathroom a bit cramped but adequate and everything cleaned to a high standard every day. Cabin ... Read More
We chose this cruise to coincide with my husbands birthday. From day one we had a fantastic time The cabin with balcony was spacious, the bathroom a bit cramped but adequate and everything cleaned to a high standard every day. Cabin staff ..especially Rona were always cheerful even though it was obvious they were under pressure to complete their work. We found waiting for the lifts a bit challenging but decided on day one that it would be easier to climb the stairs, luckily we are fit and able to do so We decided on freedom dining and it suited us well. The restaurant staff were always helpful . The food was good and we were not rushed. Talk around the dinner table ineviitably turned to 'how many cruises have you been on' this was bit tiresome but if people make cruising a full time hobby its to be expected Entertainmement was as good as some West end shows The drinks are reasonably priced with no surcharges. The daily charges for cabin services reasonable. In all a brilliant trip and will use P&O again Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem ... Read More
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem close chums of portly Onslow and family in that Mrs Bucket comedy series. Or the Royle family on their hols. Brits abroad who let us down. Swilling drinks, shouty, bit whiffy, tattoed, smokers, regular belchers and trumpers, string vests and they care not a jot for other passengers. P&O try hard to maintain good standards but just a few passengers foil them! Not P&O's fault. Food, entertainment, crew and facilities are all good or excellent. Showers are a bit small with no doors, just curtains. Ship looks a bit tired and rusty in places but overall decor etc was good. Very good song and dance team. Theatre is a bit too small so get there about an hour earlier to ensure seats. Best to avoid school holidays. Sometimes have to go up and down stairs or lifts too much to reach restaurants if you're infirm. Conclusion.....Well worth sampling Ventura but some passengers said they also agreed with us that RCI was a bit better. The debate goes on......All depends who you chat to. Edith Evans would not enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Had a very good offer on an inside cabin so booked..we are actually going on the transatlantic repositioning cruise next month as well. Room was a reasonable size with good storage space, lots of room for all our clothes. The bathroom ... Read More
Had a very good offer on an inside cabin so booked..we are actually going on the transatlantic repositioning cruise next month as well. Room was a reasonable size with good storage space, lots of room for all our clothes. The bathroom was a reasonable size. The main dining room was excellent, we had chosen 1st sitting, and our waiters were really good. The standard of meals in the Windjammer was typical cruise fare but ok. Now for the reason I only gave the cruise an average rating... Only soap in the cabin, no shampoo or conditioner...although you could buy it. For some reason our cabin steward made the bed with about 2foot at the bottom without a sheet. Our feet were then on the mattress protector and not on a sheet. The solarium was open to the elements, therefore rather chilly, we didn't brave the pool. The film was also on deck,open to the elements..again far too cold. Except for the day we were in Le Havre when it was being shown in the theatre at 1pm. No enrichment lectures at all, very disappointing. Not a great deal to do during the day on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was my first time with P&O and on the Oriana. At first everything was fine and the crew were very lovely. We had problems with the air conditioning sticking on either too hot or too cold but we could forgive that as it was going ... Read More
This was my first time with P&O and on the Oriana. At first everything was fine and the crew were very lovely. We had problems with the air conditioning sticking on either too hot or too cold but we could forgive that as it was going in for a refit in November. Mid week a the Norovirus broke out and everything changed. The hygiene standards actually worsened and did not improve. They had no idea of infection control and I witnessed on lots of occasions very poor disinfectant techniques. The staff obviously had very little knowledge of how to disinfect adequately. There were many empty soap dispensers on the ship and the only hand sanitation was in the dining room, where we had one squirt as we went in.Very little information was given to passengers. The staff were obviously under pressure from their supervisors and their attitude changed, especially the waiters who were rude and incompetent. They didn't even look at or acknowledge when people thanked them. This was my fourth cruising experience but first with P&O. Thankfully the first three lovely and staff were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed them but had this been my first ever cruise I would never step board on a ship again. There were so many other things that went wrong or were bad practises that I would have to write a book to include them. Thankfully we didn't contract the virus but I wasn't in the least bit surprised it was a problem on board. I felt so sorry for the passengers boarding the Oriana as we were getting off. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Chose this cruise because we have been on this ship twice before. Western Med ( Spain and Portugal). 19th Sept - 2nd Oct 2016. Standards have slipped and prices have risen. A glass of wine was 10 -12 dollars each. A bottle of water ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we have been on this ship twice before. Western Med ( Spain and Portugal). 19th Sept - 2nd Oct 2016. Standards have slipped and prices have risen. A glass of wine was 10 -12 dollars each. A bottle of water was $5. 18% tax added onto all drinks. The cost of tours from the ship were outrageously expensive. They now charge £5 to £10 for shuttle busses from ship into town. Which they never used to do. We found that we got virtually the same tours on the RED open top busses at a quarter or less of the organised RC ttours. . Our cabin was 7550. No bath, but a very adequate shower. Lovely balcony. Very quiet but towards the front of the ship and a very very long way from the restaurants. Our bathroom had nothing but towels for the first 3 days. No shampoos, tissues, face flannels, shower gel, conditioner or shower gel for first three days. Had to keep begging for anything we wanted. The Windjammer restaurant was a nightmare. Self service. Too many people fighting for too few tables. Dreadful VERY LOUD music playing all the time Complained, but no use. . Unable to hear each other talk so everyone shouting. Only used it at the last possible moment for breakfast. However, the Romeo & Juliet Restaurant was excellent. Went there every evening.. Only went to theatre twice, first time a comedian so offensive, we walked out. Second time the musical, Grease. It was fabulous! The Royal Parade is a High street full of bars and shops. Great to shop and people watch. We booked through SAGA and got a free door to door taxi and free insurance AND it was cheaper than 8 other travel agents we tried. Don't think we would choose this company again as it charges extortionate prices for drinks ( including water) and trips. Royal Caribbean will automatically add a huge amount of money to your account for tips every day unless you tell reception you wish to pay them yourself in person at the end of the cruise. . Bay of Biscay very choppy. You can get sea sick pills from the Medical until ( If you can find it ). They are one of the two things that are free on the ship. Ice cream by the pool was the only other thing. This cruise is excellent for disabled people, there were a large number of wheelchair users on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise to sample cruising. A week on board Britannia to see if we like it. All I can say is that it was good in parts. The bad bits first. The main pool area was a zoo. The buffet restaurant was like a service station ... Read More
We chose this cruise to sample cruising. A week on board Britannia to see if we like it. All I can say is that it was good in parts. The bad bits first. The main pool area was a zoo. The buffet restaurant was like a service station canteen. The Serenity zone was separated from the zoo by a glass partition and in no sense of the word could it be called serene. There were hail sized black oily smuts coming from the funnel that covered the deck, sun loungers, passengers and upper handrails. Oh and the widespread outbreak of a gastro-intestinal bug!!! The not so bad: cabins on A deck near the rear suffer from people running on the deck above (Sunset bar) and scraping furniture around until all hours of the morning. Ship layout means you cannot access all parts from all the lifts (cannot get to restaurants from rear lifts). Good bits: service, food quality in the Peninsula restaurant, entertainment, ride quality, cabin size and quality, drink quality (price ok), decor, crew. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Oriana review x608 Just back from my first cruise aboard the wonderful Oriana. Despite bad weather, this was an excellent cruise, the staff were fantastic, entertainment perfect as was the food. I have no negative points to mention at ... Read More
Oriana review x608 Just back from my first cruise aboard the wonderful Oriana. Despite bad weather, this was an excellent cruise, the staff were fantastic, entertainment perfect as was the food. I have no negative points to mention at all even the rough seas on the bay of Biscay and the torrential rain in la caruna cannot dampen my enthusiasm. We had a 1pm check in time and arrived half an hour later and were fast tracked to the front of the queue. We boarded promptly and went straight to the conservatory for lunch. We had a look round the ship and found our cabin was already ready and our luggage soon arrived. The cabin was quite small with a tiny bathroom but big enough and had a large window. Tip : this cabin had two fold up bunks so do have the single bed configuration or it could be awkward to walk past the folded bunks. We had a 6.30 dining time in the oriental restaurant and a table for 8 which was excellent and our table mates were good company. The waiting staff were very pleasant and efficient and the food was excellent. My only negative comment regarding the Oriental was the very loud vibration coming from below, causing the cutlery and chandeliers to vibrate violently. This was particularly bad the first evening when leaving Southampton. The first port was Guernsey. This was a beautiful place and we came off the ship by tender boats very efficiently. We ate breakfast in the Conservatory buffet every day and found this to be fine and only busy on sea days. The second port was la Rochelle. Very pretty place but very few shops and lots of restaurants. Bilbao, we opted for the San Sebastian on your own trip. This was enjoyable as the place is very pleasant with a lovely beach but I could have done without the 3 hours in total sitting on the coach. La Caruna, it rained all day and there was a shuttle bus but we docked near shops and a harbour so we walked in and found a number of places to look round but the rain sent us back to the ship quite quickly. Entertainment - this was superb with a number of venues all providing different things. The Headliners were a new troup and they did 2 shows which were excellent. We saw a comedian, Jeff Stevenson who was good as was singer Eve Sheratt and a classical guitarist called Nils who was also very good indeed. I loved the staff talent show which was excellent and very entertaining. I used all three swimming pools which were lovely and warm. A fantastic cruise all round. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Indoor cabin which we find fine. Dark and quiet so a good night's sleep. Our second cruise. First was Celebrity, and was probably more luxurious but cost more. We enjoyed time out in the cinema, a different movie daily, 3 or4 time ... Read More
Indoor cabin which we find fine. Dark and quiet so a good night's sleep. Our second cruise. First was Celebrity, and was probably more luxurious but cost more. We enjoyed time out in the cinema, a different movie daily, 3 or4 time slots. We did freedom dining so can turn up whenever you wish. They ask if you are happy to share a table, we were, may have to wait otherwise and they have pagers so you can go off while waiting. So we ate with mainly different couples every evening and met some nice people, and only a couple of strange ones! Embarkation and Disembarkation was very smoothly done. We payed to park car at the port, again very smoothly done. We travelled down the day before from north-east and spent the night in Romsey so easy to arrive next day. Turned out to be a good idea as many were stressed and almost late as the big Harmony ship and another cruise ship was docked as well as ours that day and roads because problematic. We enjoyed the entertainment. All the staff worked very hard and were so courteous, and the food was lovely. I find it difficult to research the ports before travelling and deciding when to book an excursion or just get off and see. We found they leave information sheets in your cabin of each destination to make it easier. I enjoyed 3 excursions. The only time I felt I'd wasted my money was buying red bus tickets in Malaga- 29 euros each and including entry into museums that you had not the time or inclination to visit. That had nothing to do with P&O of course. The Oriana is an older ship and it shows in some areas but no complaints. I was a bit anxious before travelling as our cabin was A151 right underneath the Al fresco restaurant and had seen a review about noise until 2.30 am. Pleased to say it now closes at 6.30 pm so no problem, sometimes a few scraping chairs above to be heard at 6.30 am when they open for breakfast. We enjoyed Spain, Portugal and a day in Tangiers. We were soft and chose a short bus trip tour as we didn't want to walk about and be pestered in Tangiers.Some of our fellow travellers had walked in and were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it. Oriana is an adult only ship and mostly older passengers so enjoyable without any excessive behaviour. Loved it when the dolphins came alongside in the warm Portuguese waters! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Travelled with husband, daughter and her family plus daughters mum in law, so very varied age group, from 3 years to 85! We Like RCI but feel the Navigator did not provide enough quiet lounge type areas just to sit in. Lots of places ... Read More
Travelled with husband, daughter and her family plus daughters mum in law, so very varied age group, from 3 years to 85! We Like RCI but feel the Navigator did not provide enough quiet lounge type areas just to sit in. Lots of places to sit and drink but these tend to be crowded and noisy. Waiting to be served at bars took some time. Seemed bar staff were very stretched. Dining as always was very good and food varied. Thought cover charge for Chops Grill was a bit much at $35 each tho. Entertainment was first class. Something for everyone. Cabins beautifully kept and speaking for ourselves, spotlessly clean. Our cabin was on deck 8 and although near lifts was very peaceful. Great crew, always on hand to help and always with a smile. Kids club for little ones was super and was well run and supervised. Lots of sporty things to do for teenagers too. Our daughter used spa facilities several times and rated them highly. All in all a good cruise. Shame about weather!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We have always been "loyal to Royal"but they are cutting back so much now that we aren't getting off our cruises feeling like we've been well looked after. We booked a B2B with this first cruise to France, Spain, ... Read More
We have always been "loyal to Royal"but they are cutting back so much now that we aren't getting off our cruises feeling like we've been well looked after. We booked a B2B with this first cruise to France, Spain, Portugal to be followed by 7 nights in Norway. We booked an inside cabin which is not something we normally do (but it was meant to be a cheap getaway). Our cabin was as expected, small. It wasn't the cleanest we've had and it certainly had signs of wear. Royal have new beds which are rounded at the end, so I cannot understand why our cabin had an older square bed. There was no room to get around the bed as the edges were tight up again the TV unit or the settee. We had it changes to singles just to get around. The air conditioner was LOUD and there is no way to turn it off. The air was blowing directly onto the beds and we both got sore throats and colds. Food and service in the main dining room has been an issue for us for a while now BUT I can say that Dostan (waiter) and especially Dennis (asst waiter) were exceptional and are the sole reason this review didn't score 1 out of 5. Sadly, our interaction with other staff was very mediocre at best. YET AGAIN bar service is falling well short of acceptable. Long queues to buy a drink as they have reduced staff and nobody being accountable for ensuring bars actually have the drinks. One of the largest bars was out of Budweiser for 2 days (and nearly all were missing Bulmers Original most days). I watched a pallet of it being loaded so I know they had it. It's one thing selling Drink Packages and then cutting staff back to limit what you give out, but it's something completely different when it goes too far and the service guests are led to believe is first class is virtually non-existent. The shows in the Theatre were OK. But why do they keep booking the kid on his BMX (I've seen him 3 times on Royal ships now). Once he has done his routine for 5 minutes there is nothing more to see. Once again, the Ice Show was the highlight of the whole cruise. Sadly, on the following cruise, not even the dining room service was acceptable and after the 3rd night we couldn't be bothered to even comment and just ate in Windjammer each night. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was a bit of a last minute booking by us in July and things were certainly eventful leading up to the sailing date. Communication has been a major issue throughout, starting with no formal notification of a change in itinerary from 7 ... Read More
This was a bit of a last minute booking by us in July and things were certainly eventful leading up to the sailing date. Communication has been a major issue throughout, starting with no formal notification of a change in itinerary from 7 to 6 nights, an earlier departure time than first indicated and the reimbursement for our lost day. Anyway, we planned to make the most of what we considered was a good deal in respect of the holiday price and stayed in Southampton for 2 nights prior to leaving on 19th October for our 6 night cruise ending in Barcelona. We arrived early on Monday morning at the cruise terminal in Southampton. We had no idea where the Epic was sailing from but luckily our hotel was across the road from the allocated terminal and we could easily walk to it. Check in was messy but we boarded the ship in good time and had immediate access to our state room which was fantastic. We had a balcony room and were very pleased with it, although the layout was unusual, but we had no complaints. The Norwegian Epic is a big ship, which we do prefer, but because there were so many people in what seemed limited space in the bars and Garden Cafe in particular, it was impossible to get a drink from the bars. We liked the new Cavern Club very much but with one barman and two waiters, we were waiting up to 50 minutes for a drink at one point which is ridiculous. The same happened in the buffet cafe, it was "every man for himself" and a stressful experience, ending up in cold food, beverage machines not working so you had to go to another one, and queues just about everywhere. We did enjoy our meal in the Taste restaurant and should have gone there more often. The staff were very pleasant too, although this was not a common factor throughout the ship. We didn't see any shows as we weren't aware you had to book in advance but heard they were very good. The entertainment staff were quiet compared to what we have experienced on other ships and there wasn't much going on to suit our tastes. All in all, it wasn't the best cruise we have been on but we met some lovely fellow guests which kept us positive. Nevertheless, NCL need to up their communication skills to get us to come back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was the first cruise i had done with Celebrity. In the past i have always traveled in a Grand suite or better on the RCCL and was looking for that little bit more, you read all the promises they offer and not all are meet. When ... Read More
This was the first cruise i had done with Celebrity. In the past i have always traveled in a Grand suite or better on the RCCL and was looking for that little bit more, you read all the promises they offer and not all are meet. When you approach the book-in counter you are ushered to a separate area, then meet by a senior office or consiegure who escorts you onto the vessel and taken to the Michael,s Club. They then explained what you are entitled too and all other extras you can receive. After that you are then escorted to your room and introduced to your stateroom butler and 2 room attendants. What a pleasant surprise with your separate Dinning room for breakfast, lunch and dinner at a time to suite you. The food was great and as usual plenty off, the Ocean view Cafe had variety, presentation and Taste, the service was just great. The events put on at Michael's Club are just great again you could not ask for more. The Presentation of the ships other facilities were well above what i have had in the past. The Stateroom not as big as previously experienced, but the layout with separate Bedroom made it more user friendly. The Bathroom is not big but again the right size for 1 person at a time. Who spends much time in a room when on-board the ship, but the Balcony was great for a bit of piece and quite. Overall i would recommend spending that little bit more, the difference is just unbelievable. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I really can't understand the negative comments about Britannia. We booked our Iberian cruise in order to celebrate our friends Golden Wedding and a birthday and based upon the very mixed reviews, we retained open minds but wondered ... Read More
I really can't understand the negative comments about Britannia. We booked our Iberian cruise in order to celebrate our friends Golden Wedding and a birthday and based upon the very mixed reviews, we retained open minds but wondered whether we had chosen wisely as the less than positive comments kept on coming. We needn't have worried at all - our party of four thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the eleven night cruise and would gladly re-book this fantastic vessel in future. We took advantage of free parking at Southampton and followed the instructions to arrive in time for our allocated boarding slot at 3.00 pm. At first we were a little perturbed at the length of the queue for the parking facility and doubted whether we would indeed be boarding on-time however, we were soon underway and after registering, the car was taken away and our bags were loaded onto the porter's trolley allowing us to enter the terminal at 3.00 pm. Unfortunately we encountered a 90 minute delay due to a technical problem with the gangway but once we had checked in, boarding was pretty slick. We boarded at deck 5 and arrived into the very impressive atrium with it's rather extravagant centre piece lighting feature and immediately we were struck with the splendour of the ship. We were directed to our cabins D219 and D223 and found them without any problem. Our luggage had arrived and first impressions of the cabin were extremely favourable. The hanging open fronted wardrobe space is a great feature and the 30 wooden coat hangers easily met our needs. The bathroom is cosy but the shower cubicle with glass door was larger than we have experienced on NCL, MSC and Cunard. The bed was nice and firm and the pillows were excellent quality. The wall mounted TV was a good size and created quite a feature within the room. My wife loved the use of mirrors - two long length and one on the dressing table - and the coffee facility and decent sized fridge were a welcome facility. The balcony has two reclining chairs and a small table and although small, there was plenty of room for two. The colours in use throughout Britannia are fairly neutral and they work very well in all areas. We opted for freedom dining and as such had the use of Meridian and Peninsular restaurants for waiter served meals and quite genuinely, all four of us had excellent food and service throughout our cruise. The menu choices and quality of ingredients certainly appealed to our rather discerning tastes and we were all at a loss to understand the level of criticism aimed at the food in many of the previous reviews. The waiting staff are almost all Indian and although the command of English did vary, we didn't find it to be a problem. The Horizon buffet we found to be equally impressive with plenty of seating and a vast choice of food which changed daily. We always found the food to be hot, well presented and regularly restocked and we rarely had to queue or participate in a bun fight like we have experienced on other cruise lines. I would summarise Horizon as being equal to the very best of buffet restaurants in the UK and far better than the vast majority. A good facility is the serve yourself beer and wine station where you simply swipe your cruise card and help yourself. Tea, coffee and juices facilities are plentiful. We experienced Horizon at breakfast, lunch and dinner although our preference was always Meridian or Peninsular. The Indian food buffet night was particularly good with chicken tikka masala a real star of the show. We planned special nights in Sindhu, The Limelight Club and the Epicurian and we were delighted with the value for money from the extra cover charges. Sindhu provided for a fine dining experience in a quality environment; Limelight delivered live entertainment from Dean Andrews (Singer and Actor) and good quality but limited choice of food in a sophisticated club atmosphere and Epicurian is as good as it gets in a Michelin starred type of experience. In our opinion, all of these venues at worth we very penny of the supplementary charges. Around the pools on deck 16 we also tried the burger, chips and salad "takeaway" and the Grab & Go where we enjoyed a variety of sandwiches, rolls and wraps. Our favourite for pre-dinner drinks was the Crows Nest and we eventually got to watch the opening Rugby World Cup match in Brodies pub - unfortunately we missed the first 30 minutes due to "technical difficulties". The Glasshouse (Olly Smith's creation) was a great venue for quality wine sessions and we enjoyed a well informed wine tasting session for £15 each on one of our sea days. Surprisingly, the Costa Coffee lounge was very well attended and considering there is a charge for the products we could rarely find a seat. The girls also booked the Cookery School for a two hour instruction from James Martin and needless to say, they were both very complementary about his culinary skills - I think that's what they were referring to!! We also bumped into Marco Pierre White on board as well as Jenny Eclair and Greg Rutherford who were involved in filming for the new MPW television programme. The casino is small but adequate. Now, the thing that really puzzles me is the people who say that Britannia is too big and too difficult to get around - to them I say, choose a smaller vessel or read the information and work it out for yourself! We didn't have a problem at all and neither did we experience a problem with the lifts - just accept that if you all pile out of the theatre at the same time, there will be bottle necks! If I have one irritation it is with the prepaid wine packages. We opted for the Captain's selection at £200 for 12 bottles which provided good choice at a reasonable discount but with hindsight, the drinks are pretty reasonable at full price and we experienced some confusion trying to order with the vouchers from anywhere except the Main restaurants. We were almost made to feel like we were inconveniencing the waiters every time we tried to order elsewhere. I think that the wine voucher system needs some tweeking. Overall the drinks are priced at about UK high street range a with draft beers and lagers about £3.95 a pint; decent spirits at about £2.95 a shot and a large glass of wine £6.25. It was refreshing to see the P&O don't add a service charge to the drinks bill unlike other lines. Room service is particularly good on Britannia. We used it several times and on one occasion ordered a litre bottle of Grey Goose vodka for a very competitive £30.00. Mixers were £10.00 for a dozen small cans. We saw Jimmy James in the Headliner theatre for our fix of soul and Motown; we also attended the interviews for MPW and James Martin and again, we planned our arrival to ensure that we got a good seat. If you leave it to the last minute, expect to stand. We loved the Headliner theatre and the acoustics. The Live Lounge provided good "adult entertainment" from a brilliant comedian whose name escapes me. Apart from Vigo, we arranged our own shore trips and would advise anyone that there are almost always options to go it alone by rebooking direct with local agents via the Internet or simply looking at the options in each port when you arrive. It works out much cheaper if you are brave enough to take a chance. The highlight of our trip was the magnificent sail away from Gibraltar - what a stirring and patriotic experience thanks to the very enthusiastic Entertainment team. Well done to all Britannia staff - you made this experience one to remember and we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our fourth cruise on this lovely ship. We did not think standards had fallen despite recent reviews we had seen. The only disappointment was the weather and the entertainment - see below. Good quality and variety of food in the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on this lovely ship. We did not think standards had fallen despite recent reviews we had seen. The only disappointment was the weather and the entertainment - see below. Good quality and variety of food in the buffet and main restaurants. We had Freedom dining in the Cinnamon and never had a problem getting a table when we wanted (we were happy to share though). We also paid the supplement for the Beach House one evening but did not think there should have been additional surcharges for a lot of choices on the menu. It would have been better to have a higher charge initially and have everything included. Two of the Headliners shows we had seen on previous cruises several years ago. Surely these should be updated on a yearly basis. Also the other entertainment was tired. P&O need to look to the American cruise lines for ideas on updating the entertainment. Pleasant and efficient service in the buffet and main restaurants and Metropolis bar. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Me, my wife and 16 year old daughter have just returned from our first ever cruise.....and we're hooked. We sailed through the Bay of Biscay down to Cadiz and back up, calling in at Portugal on the way back. All the staff on board the ... Read More
Me, my wife and 16 year old daughter have just returned from our first ever cruise.....and we're hooked. We sailed through the Bay of Biscay down to Cadiz and back up, calling in at Portugal on the way back. All the staff on board the Azura were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Particularly the restaurant staff. Food was plentiful in whichever restaurant we chose and very tasty. The specialist Indian restaurant on board was also very good indeed.....as was afternoon tea in the Peninsular. Don't miss it! The entertainment provided was varied and perfectly adequate (Tom O'Connor topped the bill on two nights in the main theatre) while, during the at-sea days there were plenty of Sun lounges available around any of the busy and less busy pools. We were also regular visitors to the Spa and Gym area. Again, very impressive. We'll certainly be booking again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Excellent organisation from valet parking, to luggage loading and embarkation. We were with toddler and grandparents and it all worked out well. Room steward welcomed us and was very pleasant throughout the trip. He attended the cabin ... Read More
Excellent organisation from valet parking, to luggage loading and embarkation. We were with toddler and grandparents and it all worked out well. Room steward welcomed us and was very pleasant throughout the trip. He attended the cabin three times a day and was always on hand to give advice. The cabin itself was with balcony, well appointed, very comfortable bed and compact as you would expect. We chose freedom dining but actually never used it as the buffet suited us better with the needs of our toddler takign over. The food and service was excellent and the waiters and chefs made a fuss over baby. Ports of call were enjoyable (Guernesey, Coruna, Bilbao, La Rocelle). We didn't opt for excursions so mosied around independently. The tender to Guernsey was well organised, we were able to walk off ship into town in Coruna and buses were laid on in Bilbao and La Rochelle. The kids clubs were excellent and again well organised withe excellent staff and facilities. Our child not being two yet meant that we had to stay with her, but over two's can register for the clubs with supervision while parents can go off and leave them. Overall, we enjoyed our experience. The ship was very comfortable, staff were friendly and helpful, organisation was excellent and facilities very good. We would recommend and travel on Brittania again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Just back from 7 days aboard Ventura. The start wasn't too promising. Ventura docked 3 hours late from it's previous trip due to bad weather we were told. We were sent messages asking us to delay our port arrival ! On arrival we ... Read More
Just back from 7 days aboard Ventura. The start wasn't too promising. Ventura docked 3 hours late from it's previous trip due to bad weather we were told. We were sent messages asking us to delay our port arrival ! On arrival we queued for at least an hour before we were allowed to off load our luggage. In the terminal lounge there was at least 3000 people but the 'booking in was controlled'. We were reasonably lucky once we'd received our ship cards we went through reasonably quickly, however moments after we got through the terminal PC's all crashed which delayed things even more. However, once on board all seemed to go well. The weather on the first couple of days was terrible, it caused us to miss stopping at Guernsey but we can't hold anyone accountable for that. The ship was very clean and tidy and kept that way all throughout our cruise. The food on board in the main restaurant was to a very high standard, as was the service. The cabin (we had an inside cabin) was always serviced exceptionally well (Molivoy was the steward). The bars where serviced well by the waiters HOWEVER.... a big criticism of mine is that there are very few draught beers in each bar, and each bar has a different set. So if you wanted to watch a particular show you had to drink whatever that bar had to offer, which I believe in this day and age is unacceptable. The entertainment I felt was acceptable but not outstanding, which was a little disappointing. This is my 3rd P&O cruise and the previous ones all seemed to have a little better in terms of popularity (On Aurora we were entertained by Tom O'Connor). Another disappointing aspect to Ventura is the deck layouts. The size of the vessel dictates the need for lifts BUT they all seemed to have different amounts of deck coverage i.e. the rear lifts went to deck 18 but not 19, the centre lifts only went to deck 15, the front lifts didn't go all the wall down etc. It was sometimes difficult to plan your day/night out as you have to remember to change lifts if you were changing decks..... in some cases but not all. I thought the staff were very attentive and the service was very good in all areas. The ports of call were reduced as said earlier, but we stopped at Lisbon, Oporto, La Corunda. The first two were 'ok', but La Corunda was very disappointing, a lot of the shops were closed due to the economy being in such a state. In future I would consider staying on the ship if we called there. The disembarkation was also a little disappointing as it took over two hours for us to get off, I'm sure it could of been done quicker. Overall I would recommend a cruise on this ship. In future I would recommend choosing a cruise that stopped at some better ports, but I accept we're all different and our needs vary. I do think P&O are a very good cruise line and they serve the UK really well. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Embarkation :- Arrived at Southampton early due to light traffic, at 10.45. Bags unloaded and car taken away, we were directed upstairs at the Ocean Terminal where we were given a boarding card with the letter B on, and were informed that ... Read More
Embarkation :- Arrived at Southampton early due to light traffic, at 10.45. Bags unloaded and car taken away, we were directed upstairs at the Ocean Terminal where we were given a boarding card with the letter B on, and were informed that check-in would not be opening until 12 noon at the earliest, an hour and a quarter away. We hadn't experienced such a delay previously with P&O or any other cruise line, and subsequently there were hundreds of people in the terminal by the time they did open up, which was about 12.10. However when we did check in we were then treated to a security process which involved taking off belts , shoes, watches etc, which caused a further delay...not a great start. Once on board we went to the Horizon restaurant on 16 for a spot of lunch, after which the cabins were ready. Cabins :- We were on E Deck (level 10, cabin 402) with a balcony cabin. Lets get the same old points out of the way....Yes the bathroom is tiny and has a large shower with a very low pressure. I'm not a big bloke but did struggle with drying space after exiting the shower. There is no hand wash dispenser over the sink as on other ships, but there is one in the shower which is NOT a hair and body wash. P & O now supply a separate shampoo bottle for you. There is a large amount of hanging space with sufficient hangers, and plenty of other storage space. Yes there are no bedside cabinets, but the desk area does extend across on one side (be careful you don,t bang your elbows). Yes the lighting is strange....you haven't individual bedside lamps so its all or nothing regarding the lights. Also yes the balconies are small compared to other lines, but are comparable to other P & O ships and the furniture is of much better quality. As I think others have mentioned, the TV does not have a bill checking facility on it, which does mean you have to go to reception if you require an account statement at any time. We did notice that on the balcony the separation screens did bang around in the wind against the chairs and had damaged the screens on both sides. Overall being new the cabin was spotless our luggage arrive quickly. Dining :- We ate breakfast and lunch in Horizon (on 16), and dinner was taken in Meridian on 5, as we were allocated Freedom Dining. The food was generally very good....obviously you always get nights where the menu varies and therefore some are better than others, and the service was good. We thought that the layout in the Horizon buffet was much better than other ships, with none of the one-way system which causes so much congestion. On entry you know have hand washing stations rather than the gel stations, although they do still have these at the food side. The speciality dining venues we didn't use so cant comment on them. Entertainment :- The Headliners shows were excellent and unique to Britannia, featuring 4 very strong singers, and amazing digital scenery.The other acts were very good, with the best being Gareth Oliver who is very funny. You will need to get to the theatre at least 30 minutes before the performance starts to get a good seat, as the venue fills up very quickly. We also went to the live lounge and saw a Phil Collins tribute act who was very good. The main reason we went to the Live Lounge several times, was the resident band Pulse....they are without a doubt the best band I've seen on board any ship. We didn't use the Limelight Club as we thought that at £22 per head, it was a bit steep, plus we had already seen one of the acts ,Jakki Graham, on other ship for free, and the other act, Madeline Bell, wasn't really our cup of tea. However it seemed busy on the nights we walked by. If you want a quieter venue after dinner, then try the Crows nest bar forward on deck 16. Other Facilities :- Yes lets talk Lifts !!! Our cabin was midships and therefore we needed to use the central block of lifts....yes there is no staircase. This can cause some waits at busy times which can be annoying, particularly if you're like us, and tend to use the stairs. For emergency drills they do open a set of doors centrally revealing a central staircase which is normally for crew use. Ports :- Guernsey - Great planning by P & O brought us here on a Sunday when all the shops are shut. However there was the first in a series of crafts markets along the front in St Peter Port for those requiring to shop. Transfer here is by tender which all went very smoothly for us, though I understand there were some delays in getting people ashore. La Coruna :- Very nice city with glass balconied buildings. A walk across the town brings you to a beach where we walked along towards the lighthouse, around the headland and back into town. Its about a 5 mile hike but it does take you past trails taking you to various Celt sculptures (one is a copy of stonehenge), a past some lovely beaches. There's a very attractive typical Spanish square with plenty of restaurants and bars, and good shopping area with excellent prices for goods compared to the UK. Bilbao :- The ship moors about 20-30 minutes from the city and free coach transfers are provided. Bilbao is a very interesting venue with a visit to the Guggenheim museum a must. We also took the Big Red Bus tour which last about an hour and is good value as you get a commentary. La Rochelle :- Again the ship docks about 30 minutes from the town, and a free transfer was provided, but this was by a normal service bus . This had an extremely low number of seats forcing the majority to stand, including the more senior amongst us, with no on board air conditioning. In my view it is dangerous to have 50 people standing on this journey and P & O need to re-think this as its their duty of care to ensure safety. My advice would be that if there's a group of you...take a taxi and share the cost. The town itself is very picturesque and well worth visiting, with cobbled streets and variety of shops, restaurants and bars. There was a street market in progress and also a large fair was setting up which caused some walking restrictions. Debarkation :- Was trouble free and we were let off 30 minutes early. Overall Impression : - Britannia is an excellent ship and being new, is spotless. The entertainment is excellent and obviously P & O has worked hard to get the best acts on board. Yes there are some niggling issues and differences from other ships in the fleet, but we would definitely travel on her again. The itinerary is very good and we chose this one as we hadn't been to the ports visited. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
After toying with other ships leaving Southampton which didn't have enough indoor space for cool climates, our last two cruises have been on sensible P&O ships with indoor pools with space for dining around them (our mistake last ... Read More
After toying with other ships leaving Southampton which didn't have enough indoor space for cool climates, our last two cruises have been on sensible P&O ships with indoor pools with space for dining around them (our mistake last year was to choose the massive Indy OTS for a short trip to Norway....this ship depends on Caribbean weather to make use of the splendid outdoor pools area, but it was virtually empty outside for the 8 days, and utterly crowded inside). Ventura is an old favourite of ours, and we came upon an absolute last minute booking, giving us a week to prepare...and an upgrade from inside to an obstructed outside. This cabin, E410, is one of the most obstructed on the ship, having the machinery for the life raft covering most of the window- but there was a view, and above all, there was daylight! The cabin was lovely- we've only found this beautiful welcome of a tea tray, a flower and a silver dish of sweets on P&O, and, yes, it does add to the experience! Sometimes we sail in a more luxurious cabin on other lines, and enjoy perks provided, but really we know we pay for them; the tea tray/sweeties is for all levels of cabins, along with the chocolate at the turn down service! For once, there were no new ports for us on this cruise; in fact, we did an almost similar cruise in November on Aurora, mainly hoping for a little warm weather. In Lisbon we took the tour to Estoril, having known many who holidayed there, and looking out for the railway station to take us there another time; bad weather meant missing Cadiz, which is a favourite with everyone, but we made up for that with a full day in Gibraltar, a most fascinating port....we used the local buses, which took us to the cable car for 75 pence, senior fare. Malaga is glorious, and Cartagena is another favourite; Casablanca less so, but at least you can take the shuttle bus to the big square and wander around - I found "Sorry, no money!" n helpful, and hoped that "Pas d'argent!" was the right French....it seemed to work, and I wasn't hassled. We love Madeira, and this time took a tour because we've not been into the island itself, only along the coast and into Funchal, before. A delightful trip. The ship feeling was, as ever, relaxed and friendly; super staff; excellent speakers; the Headliners tremendously well-rehearsed and polished. A lovely, happy, laid-back and interesting fortnight; next time on her will be the full 28 days to the Caribbean and back, in January. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

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