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240 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

I work in social work which is stressful and booked this cruise after moving to Wales as both husband and myself needed a break after a stressful eighteen months refurbishing house and his chainsaw accident. This cruise was likely to be ... Read More
I work in social work which is stressful and booked this cruise after moving to Wales as both husband and myself needed a break after a stressful eighteen months refurbishing house and his chainsaw accident. This cruise was likely to be the last we will all share together, so we wanted something special. Having sailed with Celebrity previously we were eager to return to "Eclipse" for her trip to the Western Med in September 17. Unfortunately, it did not match my expectations. As the title of my review suggests, standards have definitely slipped since our last cruise with Celebrity in key areas, giving the impression that the company bottom line is more important than keeping its passengers happy. The cabin was clean and well-kept by the stewards as big as anything we've had before with the balcony. However, who designed the hand wash basin with that tap directly over the middle of the sink? You could not wash your face without banging your head on the tap. Not really any issues with soot from the ships funnels, other than a few minor specks. Throughout the ship very annoying, repetitive, voiceless music was heard. We were ashore for less than 16% of the total length of the Cruise, so a lot of the time is spent on deck, "sardined" on sunbeds, or learning to line dance. Security staff were quite engaging and welcoming however - even to the point of addressing passengers by name and welcoming them "home", nice touch. Tour guide on Lanzarote tour arrogant and unhelpful in reference to photo of camel ride - refused to take sterling so lost out on memento having not been advised before that this may be needed to purchase photo. Gibraltar – just Britain with heat! I would give the nightly entertainment a grade of C. The ship’s house band The Spitfires (they also went by another name which I am unable to mention on this forum) were undoubtedly the WORST set of musicians I have ever heard on any cruise ship I have sailed on. They somehow got progressively worse over the 14 days. Once a family we met had to leave poolside at 3.00pm, get off the ship and walk around Lisbon to avoid hearing them! As well as being terrible musicians, their general demeanour and appearance was appalling. The lead singer insisted on wearing a less than flattering toweling dress while singing poolside, which looked as if she just nicked a few of the many towels available poolside and wrapped herself in them. I did like one of the comedians. I think Cee Cee was his name. Although his R rated show should have been an X. I couldn't imagine taking my 18 year old daughter in there. The crockery in the Ocean View buffet is very heavy indeed. You may also be unlucky enough to get a plate that has a protruding ridge on the underside causing your plate to spin every time you try to cut your food. The dining chairs are extremely heavy and virtually impossible to position near to the table without some help from the waiters who I fear will suffer with back problems later! Choice of meals poor throughout the 14 days and root vegetables over this period were limited to carrots potatoes with beans as an addition. Chef must have left turnip, swede, parsnip, beetroot, red and green cabbage, mange tout at Southampton. We couldn't fail to notice that the clientele was different from our previous Celebrity cruises: more tattoos and football shirts. Despite the fantastic ship, it often felt like Butlins-on-the-high-seas, but at fancy prices. Dress rules were not enforced within the for-fee restaurants, particularly Murano, where we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. I do not expect to see a man dressed like a UK coach driver sitting in my vicinity when I have made the effort to dress appropriately. Wives please take note: if you make the effort to wear a nice dress, have your hair and nails done, ensure your partner does not look like he is dressed for a visit to a garden centre. And are football shirts really smart casual? I declined the automatic gratuities before sailing planning to do my own. It made no difference. The gratuities were added to my account anyway. A disappointing cruise, and food for thought about booking with Celebrity in the future, particularly if they can't make up their minds about the "formal" evenings: it's quite simple: black tie or not - there is no middle ground. The tag Celebrity use of "Modern Luxury" is sadly no longer the case! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We were just looking for a restful cruise from Southampton in September and this fitted the bill. We had done all of the ports on past cruises. Booking using their web site was a complete nightmare. Eventually had to call their office ... Read More
We were just looking for a restful cruise from Southampton in September and this fitted the bill. We had done all of the ports on past cruises. Booking using their web site was a complete nightmare. Eventually had to call their office in Surrey and get one of their agents to do everything for me. The list of things that went wrong are to numerous to mention here. The cabin on deck 7 was as good as other ships of this size and the attendant was efficient if a little withdrawn. The ship was smart and up to expectations as far as decor and facilities were concerned. We had a drinks package and onboard spend. The drinks package does not extend to the minibar in the cabin even if you drink the same drinks as those included in the bars. No explanation for this forthcoming. The agent had helped me make speciality dining reservations before sailing (this did not work online) from my onboard account. When I checked my account on cabin TV, there was no mention of the spend so I queried it. If you book before you sail it is not shown on your account but it does show on guest services system. The assistant who showed me my real account was obviously fed up of explaining this to any number of guests. I declined the automatic gratuities before sailing planning to do my own. It made no difference. The gratuities were added to my account anyway. Apparently you have to decline them onboard what ever the agent did online for me. I was presented with a 'demand' for gratuities in the form of envelopes on my bed the second last night. There was a label on the top of the envelope telling me who I should pay and how much it should be per person per day. I tore them up and made my own arrangements. The meals in the restaurant were good if a little repetitive. The speciality dining in Murano and Tuscan Grill was slightly better but not value for the additional cost. The entertainment was very variable. Jayne Curry was fantastic, one of the concert party shows was excellent as was the comedian. However, much else was average or just plain poor. The groups playing in the atrium were loud. The drumming in particular was loud and reminded me of the films showing slave galleys with drums beating out the rowing rhythm. Unfortunately, the rhythm was ramming speed. The orchestra in the theatre was good but their sound often drowned the artist (which was an occasional bonus). The best piece of entertainment was the hot glass show. Service was variable except for Jasna in the wine bar who was truly excellent. I saw at least six events where superiors were berating junior staff in front of passengers. This is abject management. In one case that highlights the real Celebrity culture a manager was berating his staff for not up selling more speciality dining to passengers. I could not view the shore excursion properly online so I did not take any offered by Celebrity. When I got onboard and saw their prices I was pleased their online system was rubbish. I knew each port so was able to do my own tours at a fraction of the cost. I have seen comments stating that Celebrity nickel and dime their passengers. I have to agree with those comments as their hands were never out of my pocket. I have done at least eleven other cruises on other lines but this is the first time I have felt uneasy with regard to their pushy sales activities onboard. We will not use Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Having sailed with Celebrity previously my wife and I were eager to return to "Eclipse" for her trip to the Western Med in September 17. The cruise met all our expectations with regard to the incredible staff and the ample, ... Read More
Having sailed with Celebrity previously my wife and I were eager to return to "Eclipse" for her trip to the Western Med in September 17. The cruise met all our expectations with regard to the incredible staff and the ample, well-produced and displayed, food. But the awful entertainment and total lack of sporting events on the much-vaunted lawn were a great disappointment. The Cruise Director was possibly to blame for the shambolic selection of presentations by the ship's theatre group - who had to work valiantly and whole-heartedly as they were continually forced to fly out over the audience, holding on to what appeared to be white bedsheets, several times during three shows, while the rest of the "entertainment" was top-heavy on third-rate singers. One wonders, also, why it is necessary for the excellent band's drummer to be ordered to dominate every piece of music performed - he was even put on his own raised platform in case we might miss his presence! These was not the Celebrity offerings that we had experienced in the past, and were not helped by the appalling selection of the screaming piped background music blaring out all-over the ship almost continuously. A disappointing cruise, and food for thought about booking with Celebrity in the future, particularly if they can't make up their minds about the "formal" evenings: it's quite simple: black tie or not - there is no middle ground. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Southampton sailing and liked the overnight in palma. Not sure whether we would sail again from Southampton due to poor weather on return. What a shame that Rci have now resorted to the cheapest form of entertainment in one of the ... Read More
Southampton sailing and liked the overnight in palma. Not sure whether we would sail again from Southampton due to poor weather on return. What a shame that Rci have now resorted to the cheapest form of entertainment in one of the better lounges , that being karaoke, particularly on most nights. No problem occasionally. Lounges on this ship were not distinctive and entertainment dated and mediocre at best. Who the wine bar was aimed at I could not decipher as the wine bars I patronise are usually sophisticated and furnished accordingly not with dark cheap wooden tables and chairs with absolutely no atmosphere. The dining experience, however still manages to hang on to excellence in its service, presentation and food. Having cruised many times before I feel this ship tried to cover too big a distance. This often led to it being uncomfortable on deck due to ships speed. Please review itineraries. Customers on this type of cruise want to sunbathe and go ashore often. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Having sailed RCI Previously in Independence's inaugural season, and having sailed Celebrity to the Baltic last year we wanted to try a cruise to the Med from Southampton.This will be our last cruise during the summer holidays, and ... Read More
Having sailed RCI Previously in Independence's inaugural season, and having sailed Celebrity to the Baltic last year we wanted to try a cruise to the Med from Southampton.This will be our last cruise during the summer holidays, and with the current RCI format, a new vessel is required or the current two majorly updated and more space given to adult only areas. And the ship needs the correct level of policing, my son at 13 is 6ft 3 tall and he was intimidated by the possies of children wondering around the ship. We booked direct with the line, rather than through an agent. Taking our kids with us, Son 13 and Daughter 29 we were going to book two cabins but the Rep stated that we wouldn't need one. We had specific requirements for our cabin, including twin beds for them and a privacy curtain which we were assured would be provided. Arriving on board at 11:30 smoothly, we found that we had to find somewhere to sit with our hand luggage until 15:00 when the cabins would be ready, all space quickly filled up and it was impossible to get into, let alone eat in the Windjammer. On arriving in our cabin we were horrified to realise that none of our requirements had been met, the drawers in the vanity unit were all broken, the door hanging off of the wardrobe and many other issues. We joined the lengthy queue at guest services, we stated that we had booked the cabin and cruise based on the specific requirements that had been promised and that none of our expectations had been met! I wished to talk to a senior member of the guest services team, to be informed that the person would not be on duty until 7. We were so disappointed that my wife and I discussed leaving the ship at this point, but were convinced not to as a solution would be found. We me the Desk Services Manager, who was very apologetic, very professional, but we were then informed that because the ship was full there was nothing that could be done about the cabin requirements and that the privacy curtains were removed from the vessel two years previously. however the ship would rig up a curtain and repairs the broken items in the cabin. This meant that we gave up our double bed, converted to singles and had to sleep on a sofa bed for the entire cruise, having spent the best part of £8500 I find this appalling, but I must add not the ships fault. To add to the disappointment of this cruise was the failure of the vessel to police it properly, kids in the bars unaccompanied, groups of youths playing on the gym equipment, children as you as 8 wondering around the ship gone midnight, plates and cups etc left in corridors, stairs and lifts, passengers attending dinner in shorts clearly against the dress code and more covered in previous reviews. However, we found the crew very good and professional, the food in the main dining room excellent, (better then Celebrity) good quality wine, Windjamer food of a good standard, entertainment was good. The itinerary was also very good. All in all it was not worth the money spent, RCI have lost the edge they started with in Southampton that really shook up UK cruising, we have some good memories from this cruise but far to many poor experiences to want to repeat it. If you want Benidorm of the Seas then this is for you, if not, go out of holiday time pay the school fine it'll save you a fortune. To add to the disappointment of this cruise was the failure of the vessel to police it properly, kids in the bars unaccompanied, groups of youths playing on the gym equipment, children as you as 8 wondering around the ship gone midnight, plates and cups etc left in corridors, stairs and lifts, passengers attending dinner in shorts clearly against the dress code and more covered in previous reviews. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We have always enjoyed Royal Caribbean but this time we were disappointed with a tired ship. As always the staff were superb and gave excellent service. I feel that in their effort to attract more people to cruising it has attracted an ... Read More
We have always enjoyed Royal Caribbean but this time we were disappointed with a tired ship. As always the staff were superb and gave excellent service. I feel that in their effort to attract more people to cruising it has attracted an element of 'Butlins at sea' as a previous reviewer aptly called it. I think a Southampton sailing and the offer of free drinks packages and the reduced price attracted the wrong type of clientele. Some nights were like a booze cruise. We will be flying further afield and traveling on newer ships next time. We found the entertainment to be varied and of a good quality. Our cabin had a cracked sink and felt worn. When we wanted to sit in our cabin and watch a little TV we found the same limited programs repeated every day. The only thing interesting was the news. The cabin staff was excellent as were the dining room waiters. The port stops were good and the tours we booked were interesting. In general we have found Royal Caribbean to be excellent but I would not choose this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
After six cruises with P&O we thought we would try Royal Caribbean as they were offering a very good deal at the time we need to go...during the school holidays. Embarkation went very smoothly and we were very excited to depart. ... Read More
After six cruises with P&O we thought we would try Royal Caribbean as they were offering a very good deal at the time we need to go...during the school holidays. Embarkation went very smoothly and we were very excited to depart. The cabin was nice and comfortable although not as clean as it could have been. We were not overly impressed by the ships layout, everything seem to centered around a street in the middle of the ship. Not so many nice places to sit and have a drink or be entertained. If you wanted to see an entertainer you would have to go into the theater. The furniture was very tired looking and reminded me of a retirement home, and the rest of the ship was looking a bit tired. On deck there were numerous sun loungers which were not in the best condition and did not feel very clean. There were no areas where you could sit down and have a drink on deck, no tables and chairs in the sunshine, which makes it difficult to go out on deck and have to try and sit on a sun lounger all the time. The ports of call were great and easily accessible from the ship. The information from the captain was difficult to hear and understand. The atmosphere on deck on sail away days was very disappointing, sometimes we didn't know we had left a port. The food was very good and the service in the dining room was exceptional. Overall it was an enjoyable holiday, but I would have to think hard and really research the ship before embarking with RC again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We have enjoyed about 10 RCL cruises (Diamond memebers) but Indy is showing her age and cabins tatty and carpets not clean. I know she's just about to have a massive refit but should have been done sooner. Many small things have ... Read More
We have enjoyed about 10 RCL cruises (Diamond memebers) but Indy is showing her age and cabins tatty and carpets not clean. I know she's just about to have a massive refit but should have been done sooner. Many small things have changed from previous RCL cruises and it's no longer a WOW! holiday. The accountants seem to have got their red pens out and said - don't need that, or that, or that......No ice sculptures, displays of fruit which are unavailable on the buffet with big signs saying display only.....which were ignored :) Pool towels $25 if not returned promptly, poorer choice of food and drink at Sorrento's and Promenade Cafe. Entertainment still very good with excellent production shows and ice shows but food choice poorer. We chose to eat in Chops Grille without realising that their menu never changes :( We had a guaranteed balcony which was at the back of the ship which was an issue as the pollution from the funnels shed black spots of ?soot onto the balcony rendering it unuasable. We were given compensation towards the next RCL cruise but would have preferred a usable balcony. Guess we have learnt the hard way. The gym wasn't as clean as I'd have liked and the yoga mats were FILTHY and worn. I mentioned this to the staff and they said they needed replacing but it wouldn't be done this cruise!!!!!! I wish I'd brought my own. I was told I couldn't have a robe to use in the sauna/spa are nor take the robe from the spa back to my room after the gym - I ignored this as it would have meant me re-dressing in sweaty gym stuff - YUK! The ship was very hot in the elevators and public areas. I'm used to cruising out of USA where they air condition everything to death, but many passengers were complaining and especially in the gym they needed better air con to avoid unpleasant sweaty smells. Good enrichment talks from Tower of London former Warden and his wife. My son enjoyed his time on board - he's 17 and loves making new friends. He reported that the security prescence was heavier than previously and the security staff were going round 30 mins before curfew 'reminding' the teenagers which they didn't appreciate after the first week :). Despite the cut backs we had a lovely time as a family but it's not the special experience it was a few years ago. I'd suggest that the accountants stop running the show and let the cruising experience and passenger satisfaction take priority. - In case this reads that I'm a real moaner. all my comments were things which other passengers had remarked upon, new and seasoned cruisers alike. Good idea to change the hour on the last night rather than penultimate night. Allows you to stay up longer saying your goodbyes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our 6th cruise with RC and we have certainly seen a decline in the standard of food and entertainment over the years. The service at times was slow and there appeared to be less waiters in the bars than on previous cruises which ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with RC and we have certainly seen a decline in the standard of food and entertainment over the years. The service at times was slow and there appeared to be less waiters in the bars than on previous cruises which probably accounted for this. The food was bland and I found myself adding salt to my food for the first time ever. The menu in the main dining room was uninspiring and the same each night. We ate at Giovannis table and ordered 3 steaks all medium rare. Two were raw and had to be sent back to be cooked again and the 3rd was well done. Not great considering the charge for eating there is now comparable to eating at a decent restaurant at home. The food in the Windjammer was also very disappointing. It was only just warm at times and the choice was far less than previously. The staff began taking away the food more than half an hour before the restaurant was due to close, so if you arrived by then you would have even less choice. I was not asked once by the waiting staff in the Windjammer if I wanted a drink and this again is unusual as it has never happened before. On a positive note, the room attendant was amazing. She was very friendly and attentive and always stopped to talk even though it was obvious how busy she was. My daughter and I attended the Sushi making class. This was the highlight of the cruise for me. It was worth every penny and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys sushi and cooking. We made our own sushi and received comprehensive notes and a 25% discount voucher to use in the restaurant, which my daughter and I did. The waiting staff and chefs were fantastic and made us feel very special. I would also recommend the guacamole class. This was excellent value as it included a 3 course lunch and delicious margarita.... and of course you learned how to make guacamole. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Having been impressed by the itinerary of the delights the mediterranean can offer, we looked forward with great anticipation to our 5th cruise from Southampton. Being disabled I stayed in an accessible junior suite, do not think being in ... Read More
Having been impressed by the itinerary of the delights the mediterranean can offer, we looked forward with great anticipation to our 5th cruise from Southampton. Being disabled I stayed in an accessible junior suite, do not think being in this category of room would bring you any benefits, it was just a very large room, plenty of room for hoist, easy access onto large balcony, though we were not even greeted by the customary bottle of cava and water. I must first of all start by saying the staff were in the majority, extremely courteous and very very helpful. Special mention must go to the Sky Bar staff who looked after me exceptionally well. The onboard experience was spoilt by the awful food and cheap nasty wine selection offered by the glass. In the Sapphire dining room the menu was somewhat different sometimes having the option of up to 4 soups in the starter selection, in the main course the fish was exceptionally dry and tasteless, hardly any sauces with the meats, the vegetable selection was very limited but every dish was not complete without 2 cherry tomatoes! I have never been on a cruise before without a sommelier offering his advice on the wines. I was told due to a cutting back in staff this service was no longer available. We only managed to last 5 days in the Sapphirre dining room, we completed the cruise eating in the Windjammer restaurant. The food here offered greater selection, and was much more appetising. The self service was no problem. We bought the 3 meal package for the speciality restaurants, in hindsight I wish I had booked the 5 meal experience, the speciality restaurants were ,by far, superior to anything else offered on board. The itinerary was excellent with a good choice of destinations, however my only grumble would be why cut short your visit to Corsica with a 3pm departure then only travelling a few miles overnight to Sardinia. This also applied to Cadiz with another 3pm departure . For future cruises, besides checking the itinerary, I will also be checking departure times.I would not travel on this ship again due to the problems already mentioned. Very mediocre ship, good staff, excellent for children, good for wheelchair accessibility, but sadly not for me. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Having booked with the same travel agent for several years she knows my wife's and I's preferences for luxurious holidays, listening to peoples past experiences and looking for a new type of luxurious holiday we decided to try a ... Read More
Having booked with the same travel agent for several years she knows my wife's and I's preferences for luxurious holidays, listening to peoples past experiences and looking for a new type of luxurious holiday we decided to try a cruise for the first time. We are youngish couple (early 30s) and like a good time but also enjoy relaxing things that were promised to us before we booked and comments made included: "being treated like royalty" "outstanding services" "would never know you were on a boat" "amazing experience". We were obviously very excited about trying a new holiday and we were sailing from Southampton around the Med the cruise was for 14 nights. The first day was docked at Southampton was excellent we had been on the ship in good time and the whole security etc and getting on board was a pleasant enough experience no better or worse than a good airport. The sun had come out so it was time to get the shorts on that we had luckily packed in our hand luggage first time cruisers your big case gets taken away and you may not se it for several hours later so pack some essentials into hand luggage. Drinks in hand we were happy to set sail. We explored the ship which is as grand and luxurious looking as the photos allude to and really quite impressive we had been told the cruise ship is like a floating city... whilst I wouldn't say city a really really big outlet or mall might be a more appropriate description we were certainly impressed. We eventually made our way to our cabin which was on Deck 8 at the rear side of the boat. The room was sufficient not massive by any stretch of the imagination but similar to a small hotel room and definitely not the smallest room I've ever stayed in, it had all the essentials a double bed, bathroom with shower, wardrobe space, air con, beside tables, TV, vanity area and a sofa. As ours was in inside room we had no window or natural light at all which was good in one way as it meant when the lights are out you are in total darkness which was great for daytime napping. The cabin itself was very clean and sheets and towels were all changed daily. Another tip for first time cruisers who are UK based the plug sockets are both European 2 pin and 2 pin American style plugs. At first we were quite impressed with the amount of things to see and do on the ship there is Flo Rida surf and boogie board, an ice rink, swimming pools, activities such as rock climbing, mini golf, and arcade (you have to pay for) there's several bars, a casino, there are activities such as quizzes, dance fit classes a gym, library etc. however most of the things we wanted to try became very busy and the queues in the sun were just too much. That said if you are willing to wait the experiences would be worthwhile. Sticking with entertainment - there were several shows in the evening and at night time these ranged from artistic expression, music and singing, hypnotist, magic, dance and comedians, some were very good such as the hypnotist and some were very amateur, but it was great to have something to see every night and the variety was outstanding. All of the ports and excursions were top class the sights we saw and places we visited were all amazing transport from the boat to land was all pre arranged and sometimes there was free transport whilst other days you will have to spend up to 15Euro to avail of the ships shuttle services but most were free or in and around the 5E mark. We didn't book any excursions through the ship itself as these were all quite expensive and you could get similar tours of people at the ports for a fraction of the price whilst another couple we had met were paying $80-$90 we were paying 10E to see the same places. As our holiday was all pre paid we had included the premium/deluxe drinks package and I do feel that having a drinks package is beneficial, whilst we didn't use ours anywhere near to the advantage we should have it was our choice to do this, that said a beer and wine drinks package would have been sufficient. One of the main bad points about this ship which has really put me off another cruise in the distant future is the bar service - it was appalling to say the least. First of all you use your seapass card to get a drink and it has what package you are entitled to on it, so even though we had pre paid our drinks package and got the top one available I still couldn't order 2 beers on the one card I had to have a card per beer this meant if I wanted 2 Corona and my wife wanted a wine I'd have to queue, get her and I a drink, then queue again to get my second beer, this system was awful!! and the bar staff seemed to have no concept of turn taking, who was waiting the longest on drinks and 99% of the time you were relying on other guests to let you get served before them if they were asked before you, even though you had been waiting longer. Many a time I would have arrived at the bar and the person beside got served then the person that took their place got served, then when they left the person that replaced them got served before you too. A lot of time they shouted out - whose next? and it was a case of whoever shouted the loudest and flashed their card got served first - considering we had prepaid our drinks package and it was in the region of $1800+ it was not the levels of service you expect - the bars were severely understaffed especially on sailing days and the service was just appalling at them in general. Another thing to note especially for first time cruisers was that even if your drinks are pre-paid its only one drink per card, so I couldn't order two beers for me on my card and a wine for my wife on hers - it was either one wine and beer and queue again for the second beer or take the wine and beer and try to get table or waiter service which there was few of considering the size of the ship. A few nights we went to the night club and there was approx. 300 people there and maybe something like 2 bar staff on and one waiter service. And as they have no concept of who was next you can imagine the chaos that was happening up there. Some of the bar staff and waiters (I assume because they were so busy) were actually quite rude in terms of they took your drinks card - you had your hand out to receive it back into your hand and they slammed it down in the bar in front of you instead of you without a thank you. The service was so bad I have since asked for half of my gratuity to be refunded. Dining was excellent - a great selection of foods and the quality was good, the My Time dinner service in the evening was exceptional and the waitress Virginia on Deck 4 was outstanding at her job. She was the one person on the ship that made it feel like the luxury cruise it was supposed to be. There was a 24 hour snack bar which again did exceptional food but at times when the main diners were closed the queues to get something were outrageous and you often found that had run out or your favourite thing was not ready but the time you got there. The cleanliness of the ship was also outstanding and the staff made sure that as many people as possible were sanitizing there hands especially at meal times which was excellent on our floor I saw staff cleaning the hand rails etc. which was all really good. however there was an outbreak of Norovirus on our deck floor and unfortunately I contracted it on the last day so my journey home to say the least was not great. for those people who tell you, you do not feel you are on a boat, you do, it was rocky and choppy at times and you can definitely feel movement. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose, as a family, to go on a cruise as my wife couldn't fly due to a medical condition. We were all very excited about it as it was new to us. Generally we had a great holiday, the food was fantastic and 90% of the staff were ... Read More
We chose, as a family, to go on a cruise as my wife couldn't fly due to a medical condition. We were all very excited about it as it was new to us. Generally we had a great holiday, the food was fantastic and 90% of the staff were very friendly. The stops we had were really good although there wasn't enough time.The ships facilities were excellent and absolutely perfect for my two teenage daughters, attending the clubs and making friends. Sadly here are the downsides, !) The drinks cost was ridiculously expensive but we don't drink enough to pay 65euro a day for the package. 2) We really didn't want to witness a belly flop competition on an above average cruise. 3) Trying to get a place to sunbathe on an 'at sea' day was a real scrum down. This shouldn't be happening on an expensive cruise and could easily be organised properly. People were saving rows of loungers with towels and then probably going back to bed. 4) The shore staff weren't interested in you unless you were booking one of their trips. A proper tourist information office would be a great idea. 5) Why do some of your cruises offer free WiFi, when this trip had very expensive WiFi. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Decided to try RC after finding P&O standards had dropped over the last three cruises taken. Embarkation in Southampton with RC was very slow with long queues, some previous passengers saying they had never experienced this before. ... Read More
Decided to try RC after finding P&O standards had dropped over the last three cruises taken. Embarkation in Southampton with RC was very slow with long queues, some previous passengers saying they had never experienced this before. Although the cabin was clean and the cabin steward excellent, the balcony furniture was dated. Shower had a door, rather than a curtain as on P&O which was an improvement. The food was also slightly better than P&O with more variety, particularly in the Windjammer buffet. Paid supplement to eat in Johnny Rockets but was very disappointed with the meal and the whole experience. Dress codes on the formal nights are also just a 'suggestion' by RC so very disappointed that unlike P&O these are not enforced with men being allowed in polo shirts, without jackets, in the main dining room on formal evenings. Took out the all inclusive drinks package and made great savings, with the average drink costing $14 plus 18% service charge. The daily cocktail was $9.50 plus service charge. In comparison P&O drinks prices are slightly higher than pub prices. The crew on board were excellent throughout the ship and cannot be given enough praise. Nothing was too much trouble for any of them. Far too many rampaging, unsupervised under-12 year olds on the ship, more to do with the parents than RC. Lack of sunbeds on sea days as too many passengers placing towels on sunbeds at 7am in the morning and not returning until 11am despite notices placed around the ship. After a few days did notice crew members removing towels. Fellow passengers not adhering to the hygiene notices around the ship. Despite a sign setting out the rules of the swimming pool that young children wearing diapers were not allowed in the pool, we saw one mother flouting this rule and on some occasions there were no staff enforcing the pool rules. Apart from the Ice Show which was very good, the entertainment in the bars was very poor and P&O definitely do better in this category. Difficulty getting a seat in the Two Poets pub and small bars in the evening but an abundance of seats available in the Star Lounge where the live group were playing. Did not attend any of the Headliner shows. Did not undertake any RC shore excursions because too expensive but the ports of call were good. However, felt very rushed in a couple of ports, especially Ajaccio as arrived at 7am (when most people are asleep) and had to be back on board by 2.30pm. Would not cruise with RC again. Will try Princess or Celebrity next time from Southampton or a fly-cruise with another line. Having spent around £180 per person per day, one would have expected a far better experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Our first venture with RCI and chose this cruise as the dates worked for us and some ports of call we had not visited before. Boarding process went smoothly and our Junior Suite (1660) on deck 10 was comfortable and reasonably well ... Read More
Our first venture with RCI and chose this cruise as the dates worked for us and some ports of call we had not visited before. Boarding process went smoothly and our Junior Suite (1660) on deck 10 was comfortable and reasonably well appointed (USB outlets would be welcomed). We were generally disappointed with the food on board that tended to be bland, in fact probably the worst we have experienced with any other seven cruise lines we've sailed with in the past. Our preference is for anytime dining, but that was not to be. We were seated on a table set for eight with dinner at 8 p.m. As it turned out there were only six of us sharing this table. The waiters were really friendly and professional, but they were let down by the food itself. Our section Head Waiter was most accommodating and arranged for us to dine at more flexible times, excellent service! A beverage package was not included within our cruise price, nor did we opt into one. Basic arithmatic told us it simply was not worth it. It would have cost us around $1,500 (£1,216). We had everything we wanted to drink without skimping, our final bill came to $626 / £508, so a huge difference. The ship itself was quite well presented, albeit in need of refurbishment that, we understand, will be carried out very soon. We agree with other comment that the on board shop prices were way too expensive to be competitive. Still, I'm sure many will make purchases out of boredom, especially on rainy days. As usual with cruise ships there were a plethora of places to eat and drink 27/7. We enjoyed the ports we stopped at but did not take any of the cruise line's excursions. I am a smoker and appreciate and respect the areas set aside for my indulgence; sadly many others did not! I witnessed some throwing their butts overboard, whilst others could not be bothered to use the ashtrays, disgraceful. The entertainment in the theatre was mostly very good. Also plenty of other entertainment throughout the ship all day long. We sat and watched people using the "FlowRider", most enjoyable. Only saw one person on the "Rock Climbing Wall". From what we gleaned, talking to people on board, there seemed to be a large number of first-time cruisers who were most definitley on drinks packages and making the most it, hence my review title! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Always wanted to go on a cruise liked the look of Independence of the seas and for the cost thought comfort would be top of the list very disappointed, quality of bedding good but quality of mattress was awful they changed it but still ... Read More
Always wanted to go on a cruise liked the look of Independence of the seas and for the cost thought comfort would be top of the list very disappointed, quality of bedding good but quality of mattress was awful they changed it but still broken and they said they had no new ones took over a week to resolve the problem they wedged one side with towels and put duvets to lay on also they use mattress toppers as duvets to hot and heavy but when told about the toppers they were adamant they were duvets did end up with a duvet after much discussion but worst still mouldy and sweat all over our pillows (6 of them) they changed them all, first day we spilled a orange juice on the sheet but our sheet was only changed once they just move your sheets round the bed. Have been offered money off another cruise. Tried to book Dolphin cruise in Malaga couple of hundred pounds as this was the only trip we wanted to do but asked for assistance by wheelchair getting up zig zag walkway on return but was told they could not do that so big disappointment plus they lost money surprised at that. Also could not understand lack of comfortable sun beds only the spa pool area which is small had mattresses, the other pool areas had no comfort on the sun beds could not understand why they dont put mattresses on, little cost to them,Food could have been a bit hotter in the windjammer plenty of choice.Shows good balcony could have more comfort relaxer chairs would be nice.Comfort on a cruise should be top of list as you spend a lot of time on the ship. Not sure about another cruise with RC may look for more comfort. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Disappointed with the ship, looks ready for a major refit. Good points - Plenty of sun beds and space, may be different in school holiday time Large variety of food in buffet Good beer choices Some good crew, however ... Read More
Disappointed with the ship, looks ready for a major refit. Good points - Plenty of sun beds and space, may be different in school holiday time Large variety of food in buffet Good beer choices Some good crew, however inconsistent Easy check in and check out, Southampton staff were great Bad points - Buffet area massively under staffed and tables left uncleared for ages Shows were poor, Grease was like a school performance Rear of ship was a building site, lots of noise and blocked off areas Left Lisbon 4 hours late due to planned maintenance and so didn't see the best port for its views Due to delay, Casino and shops closed for the evening Over heard others describing the cruise as 'Benidorm on sea' Over priced trips Malago port transfer (not RC) coach driver got lost and took 45 mins and we were told no refund if we reported this to RC (suggest walking the 15 mins in or get the €3 land train) Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Embarked on the Independence of the seas on the 3rd June, 2017. All went very well and we were soon on the ship. We went to the windjammer for some lunch. Cabins were available from 1pm. Dwi our cabin assistant for 7328 was excellent, ... Read More
Embarked on the Independence of the seas on the 3rd June, 2017. All went very well and we were soon on the ship. We went to the windjammer for some lunch. Cabins were available from 1pm. Dwi our cabin assistant for 7328 was excellent, also did loads of towel animals. Meals in the main dinning room were good but could have been a lot better. Menu hasn't really changed in 2 years. Also would of been better if there had been more staff. Better food in the windjammer than last year, that saying it needed to be. All the excursions that we did were good however some were not described as they should of been. i.e short walk turned out to be quite a long walk, so even if you had picked an excursion for your ability it turned out not to be so, which we considered to be very bad. Entertainment was okay in places, the ice show and grease were good also the abba tribute band , the rest need to retire in my view. They have the same people year after year gets really boring. Facilities for fitness were very good. Service from all the employees was excellent, they really worked for their money, which I suspect was not very good. Our problems started during the second week of our holiday. Half way through the second week it became very obvious that a lot of the other passengers were developing coughs and problems with breathing. I was one of these, on the Tuesday/Wednesday I found it more and more difficult to breathe, especially in the casino, and some of the other corridors. On the Saturday we disembarked the Independence of the seas and returned home. I was still not able to breathe very well. I tried to break the cough with over the counter medicine, which they tell you to do before going to the doctors. I struggled on until first thing Sunday morning when it just became totally impossible to breathe, so a visit to A and E was called for. At A and E I was told that I was very unwell and that I would be staying with them for some time. It turns out I have pneumonia, what sort, this remains to be discovered. At the moment it is looking like Legionaies, but time will tell, the bug has to be grown. My husband and I love cruising but it is highly doubtful if we will ever cruise again. I was as far as I know fit and well before I went on the ship and we were on there 1 and half weeks before starting to become unwell. Was the cruise value for money, we in our eyes No it was not, even leaving out the illness. Prices have gone up a lot. Room service and corkage now have to be paid for extra Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Crown Princess - 13 May 2017 My wife and I have completed 25 previous voyages with Princess and six with P&O. Princess is one of our favourite cruise lines and their ability to cater for my wife’s gluten free diet has always ... Read More
Crown Princess - 13 May 2017 My wife and I have completed 25 previous voyages with Princess and six with P&O. Princess is one of our favourite cruise lines and their ability to cater for my wife’s gluten free diet has always been an important factor. We have also sailed with Holland America, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Azamara Club Cruises and Regent Seven Seas. We are not keen on the largest ships, so we have also patronised Azamara and Regent. We booked this ‘no-fly’ cruise as a late deal, because we had not been to Corsica for many years and had never visited Genoa. We also hoped that the weather in the Mediterranean would be better than in the UK. Loyalty benefits on Princess are more attractive than on P&O. Although these benefits do influence our choice of cruise line, the price, itinerary and the type of ship are equally important. The published itinerary for this voyage from Southampton included Barcelona; Ajaccio (Corsica); Civitavecchia; Livorno; Genoa; Marseille, Gibraltar; with six days at sea. We drove to Southampton and having delivered our bags to the porters outside the Ocean Terminal, we left our car in a pre-booked space in the nearby “Triangle” car park. Preferred check-in for the cruise was fast and efficient and having located our cabin, we discovered that it was ready. Our bags arrived within the hour. Our cabin – E216 The cabin was as expected – fairly compact but with a one comfortable chair, a refrigerator, a safe and sufficient drawers, shelves and hanging space for our clothes. The accommodation was perfectly adequate for a two-week cruise and the view over a lifeboat was only partially obstructed. Everything was spotlessly clean and our beds were comfortable, although the shower room was very small. Princess did not offer the usual bowl of fresh fruit – but that did not bother us, because fruit was always available in the Horizon Restaurant. Service from our steward, Ariel was first class. This cabin was more basic than cabins on some of the other Princess ships – and very different from the luxurious suites on Regent Seven Seas. However, we hadn’t paid Regent prices, so we got what we paid for. As Elite members of the Princess Captain’s Circle, we qualified for unlimited free laundry, plus an allowance of free Internet. The Wi-Fi service in our cabin was fine, even though the satellite Internet connection was fairly slow. As a gesture to British passengers (who were in the majority), TV channels included Sky News (in preference to CNN), Sky Sports News, several entertainment channels from the BBC and ITV, various European sports channels, and the customary BBC World and CNBC. Daytime activities The cruise staff organised a range of activities on sea days. Examples included trivia contests, dance classes, Zumba, carpet bowls, hoopla, name that tune and other game shows, bingo, arts and craft classes – and the “Princess Passengers’ Pop Choir (which performed towards the end of the cruise). On one morning, the cruise director conducted an interview with a guest celebrity, Harry Redknap, the football manager. My wife enjoyed the free Zumba classes and she used equipment in the fitness centre virtually every day. However, she was disappointed that she was not allowed to use the spinning bikes without attending or paying for a class. Other classes, including Pilates, were also chargeable. Humberto Neto, the Port Lecturer, delivered presentations for the various ports. Although his presentations included details of the ship’s organised shore excursions, he also offered useful guidance for passengers who preferred to explore independently. Entertainment There were various events in Club Fusion, Explorers Lounge, Wheelhouse Bar and the Piazza. A pianist, Ziggy abused the piano in the Piazza and reminded me of the famous Morecambe & Wise sketch with Andre Previn (when Eric Morecambe played the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order). The Prima string quartet also performed classical music in the Piazza. The “Movies under the Stars” big screen showed a selection of movies and live sports events throughout the day and into the evening. Love or hate it? I didn’t enjoy the constant noise in the pool area, but I was not prepared to pay $40 per day for peace and quiet in “the Sanctuary”. Most shows in the Princess Theatre started at 8 pm (which clashed with our preferred dinner time), followed by a repeat performance at 10 pm – which was rather late, after a tiring day ashore. I wish Princess would revert to occasional pre-dinner shows at around 6:30 pm. The first production show, “Magic to Do” was written specially for Princess Cruises by Stephen Schwartz, the composer of “Wicked”. It included a guest magician and was one of the best production shows we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The choreography and special effects were outstanding and the show was certainly on a par with the excellent Cirque de Soleil performances that Regent used to offer. Sadly, most of the other production shows were rather ordinary. There were also various guest performers. Tony Lewis (a Robbie Williams tribute act) was not to my taste, probably because I am not a fan of Robbie Williams. I didn’t attend Comedy Showtime “Laughs from London” by Jeff Stevenson although my wife said he was good. Impressionist Darren Altman (from Britain’s Got Talent) performed at 8 pm and should have returned at 10 pm. However, I understand passengers were unimpressed, so his second show was cancelled. Restaurants, etc The International Café in the Piazza was available 24/7 for teas, coffees pastries, toasted sandwiches and other snacks. The café is an attractive venue, although service tended to be slow at busy times. Desserts usually included several gluten free options. The Pizzeria and ice cream bars were situated close to the pool. Gluten free pizzas were always available to order. The Trident Grill served burgers and similar fare. We preferred to eat our breakfasts and lunches in the Horizon Court Buffet Restaurant. Many of the menus were geared to British tastes and we were impressed by the quality and range of options. Breakfast choices always included English smoked back bacon, as well as crispy bacon. English sausages, black pudding and grilled kidneys featured from time to time. Healthy options were always available. The extensive lunchtime display was much better than on P&O ships and my wife was impressed by the range of gluten free dessert options, which included mousses, filled meringues and gluten free pastries. Ordinary coffee and tea were always available from drinks stations in the Horizon Court. Various types of Twining’s teabags were available (in addition to the usual Lipton’s yellow label brand) teabags. The chilled lemonade was lovely. Cappuccino and similar espresso based coffees were chargeable options and passengers could purchase a coffee card costing $31 plus 15% service for fifteen specialty coffees. We prefer waiter service in the evening so for dinner, we patronised the Da Vinci Restaurant. We felt that standards had deteriorated since our previous Princess cruises. Some of our meals were first class. Others were disappointing. The cruise line used to source top quality beef from the USA. This time, some of the beef was very “chewy” and on one evening, none of the passengers on our table finished their strip steaks. Choices on the “always available” section of the menu have dwindled and beef fillet medallions have been displaced by burgers. Cheeseboards used to include four different cheeses, rotated daily. This time, the choice had dwindled to the same two cheeses every evening, Brie and Gouda. My wife must pre-order gluten free meals the previous evening. That is when the problems started, because many desserts on the standard menus are pastry based. Attractive gluten free alternatives were always on display in the buffet restaurant and should also have been available in the MDR. According to our head waiter, the diet chef could not prepare modified desserts or offer alternatives in the MDR. He offered to serve the chef’s special surprise dessert. I hope he was joking, because the special surprise was a bowl of jelly – or tapioca pudding as an alternative! The constant disappointments and aggravation were spoiling our cruise and we began to dread the repeated arguments with our head waiter. Consequently, my wife submitted a written complaint to the Food and Beverage Director, which had the desired effect. The chef started to offer a full range of gluten free alternatives, including delicious soufflés. The maître d’hôtel also presented us with a delicious gluten free cake, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We did not use room service or any of the ship’s specialty restaurants. Ports of Call Barcelona - we had explored Barcelona on many previous occasions so this time, we used the metro and the FGC suburban train to visit the Monastery of Pedralbes, a delightful church, monastery and museum on the outskirts of the City. Highly recommended, as an alternative to the better known tourist attractions. During our return to the City, we visited El Corte Ingles, to purchase quality wines and liquor, to take back to the UK. Recommendations: Prior to the ship’s arrival in Barcelona, Princess encouraged passengers to purchase shuttle bus tickets costing $10. There is no need to use the ship’s service, because the port operates a shuttle bus, which runs frequently to the Columbus Monument, and costs 4€ for the round trip. Barcelona has an excellent integrated transport system (but beware of pickpockets). A one way ticket by metro, bus, funicular or train within zone one, costs 2.15€, but does not permit changes between different modes of transport. Consequently, a T10 multi-journey card costing 9.95€ is a useful alternative for passengers travelling together, who can share one ticket for 10 trips within zone one. Each trip, not exceeding 75 minutes, permits changes between different modes of transport. Ajaccio - We usually arrange independent excursions. Public transport in and around Ajaccio was limited and car rental for one afternoon would have been prohibitively expensive. Consequently, we booked a ship’s tour to the Prunelli Gorges, followed by a visit to a honey farm. This was an enjoyable excursion, through spectacular scenery. Civitavecchia - Having visited Rome on many previous occasions, we booked a rental car to travel to Lake Bracciano. We visited the castle and the three villages around the lake. The total cost of our full day tour by car was a fraction of the ship’s half day bus tour to Bracciano. Comments. You can travel into Rome very cheaply by train. To do so, you must use the free shuttle bus to the port gates, followed by a public bus to the railway station. We also noticed many vendors at the shuttle bus terminal, selling day tours to Rome for less than 30€. Livorno - Comments. Passengers are not allowed to walk within the port area so unless you purchase a ship’s excursion or use a taxi, you must purchase tickets for the shuttle bus, which costs 5€ for a day pass – or 12€ for a return ticket to the railway station. Having visited Pisa and Florence previously, we travelled by train to the medieval walled city of Lucca. There are plenty of interesting museums etc. Lucca is worth a visit and I also recommend a walk around the walls. There are two trains per hour from Livorno to Lucca, via Pisa. Genoa - The ship’s visit to Genoa was cancelled for “operational reasons” (which were never explained). Consequently, Crown Princess anchored off Santa Margherita. We were very disappointed, because Genoa was one of the reasons we had booked this cruise. Having visited Santa Margherita on three previous occasions, we decided to stay aboard the ship. We were glad we had not purchased tickets for the official walking tour of Genoa, organised by the City Tourist Information Office. Marseille - Recommendation: Princess charged $14 for their shuttle bus to the Old Harbour. However, the port also operated a free shuttle bus, which terminated near to the Cathedral – an easy fifteen minute walk to the Old Harbour. The free bus was crowded and some passengers had to stand. It was not as frequent as the ship’s shuttle bus, so for this port, passengers might prefer to pay. We travelled into Marseille on the free shuttle bus and purchased tickets for the passenger ferry from the Old Harbour to the island fortress of Château d'If. The Château is a former prison which featured in Alexander Dumas’ book, the Count of Monte Cristo. The location was also the backdrop for the film, the Man in the Iron Mask. Well worth a visit. Gibraltar - As far as we were concerned, this was a shopping destination. We walked to the Main Street to compare prices, but returned to the duty free shop at the cruise terminal. Prices in the port’s duty free shop were much lower than in the Main Street or aboard the ship. Overview This voyage was very different from any of our previous Princess cruises. The ship sailed from Southampton so not surprisingly, most of the 3,000+ passengers were British, with a sprinkling of Australians and a few other nationalities. The cruise lacked the usual international flavour, because many activities were aimed at the British market. With so many Brits aboard, most passengers observed the dress code on the three formal nights. The Captain, the cruise director, some of his staff, and most of the entertainers were British. So in many respects, this voyage resembled a P&O cruise. On-board sales generate a significant proportion of the company’s profits and we experienced “hard sell” tactics. Prices were geared to American, not British, expectations and many items were more expensive than on P&O. Very few bottles of wine cost less than $29. One pint of draught Heineken beer cost $7.25 (or $8.25 for two pints, during happy hour) and all drinks attracted an additional 15% service charge. We were deluged with invitations to “champagne art auctions”, offers of reduced price spa treatments, promotions from the EFFY jewellery shop and repeated “half price sales” from the boutiques. All of the ship’s excursions were over-priced (although that criticism applies to most cruise lines). The ship’s photographers were a menace, when they obstructed the gangways at every port and tried to take passengers’ photographs. Port shuttle buses were a rip-off and we were not impressed by some of the sales tactics. None of this came as a surprise. We got what we paid for and enjoyed many aspects of the cruise. The only real problem was caused by chef’s reluctance to cater adequately for passengers who must adhere to a gluten free diet. Princess Cruises in Southampton have not yet acknowledged my wife’s letter of complaint, which says little for their concept of customer care. However, we know from past experience that Princess can do better. So would we book again with Princess? The answer is a definite maybe, although I am not sure we would choose another cruise from Southampton. However, Princess offer some attractive long haul itineraries, so the destination and itineraries will be deciding factors. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
we choose this cruise because of the dates and it was going to the western med. Sadly not to all the ports we wanted but we were excited that we could get to Seville and the Alhambra Palace. Sadly when we had booked and wanted to book ... Read More
we choose this cruise because of the dates and it was going to the western med. Sadly not to all the ports we wanted but we were excited that we could get to Seville and the Alhambra Palace. Sadly when we had booked and wanted to book excursions neither of these places were offered. Normally when we go on a cruise we book the excursions with the ship, my mother is in her 80s and it is easier and you never have to worry about being left behind. This cruise we were forced to make alternative arrangements, car hire, hop-on-hop-off buses, as well as booking some trips with the ship. Most cruise ships make their money with add-ons, excursions, drinks spa treatments, you get the idea, but with this trip we felt it was an art form, just one small example - a medium latte cost $8 and aa small glass of rose $9. We had a JD & coke and a bloody mary for $20.50, far more than you would pay in a bar or restaurant at home. The staff were very friendly and helpful and our 'state room; was clean, neat and tidy. You may think we are a couple of penny pinching first timers, but we have cruised all over the world with different cruise lines and this is the only one that we would really avoid. The food in the buffet varied from tepid and unappetising to hot and tasty and they use melamine 'crockery'. The main dining room had a good selection which changed each night and the staff were helpful organising a change of menu when my mother was not feeling well Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Having cruised on P & O and enjoyed the experience, we thought that Fred Olsen with its smaller ships stopping at ports unavailable to larger ships would be better. There are many positive things to say about this cruise including the ... Read More
Having cruised on P & O and enjoyed the experience, we thought that Fred Olsen with its smaller ships stopping at ports unavailable to larger ships would be better. There are many positive things to say about this cruise including the very friendly atmosphere. The accommodation was fine, the staff were fantastic, with nothing being too much trouble. The entertainment was exceptionally good throughout the cruise. The shore excursions were somewhat hit and miss, but overall fine. The great let down was the food. The restaurant food was passable, however the buffet options were the worst that I have ever experienced. The menus suggest that for health reasons, passengers should make sure that the food was thoroughly cooked so as not to risk individuals health. Unfortunately I was unable to find a single egg which you would consider safe to eat or even hot. For those who ate in the buffet areas when they opened, the majority of the food was cold. A breakfast of partially cooked fried egg, cold beans and cold sausage and bacon is not ideal. One fantastic plus for this cruise were the Phillapean staff who were amazing. Despite a very busy working schedule - they smile Day and night. Their attention to detail and warm personalities provide the kind of atmosphere that can only be admired. We did enjoy the cruise - shame about the food. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise for the price and a getaway before Christmas. I heard Cunard was a five star liner but was very disappointed with evening entertainment in theatre.Entertainment somewhat dated and needs more live acts. Some of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the price and a getaway before Christmas. I heard Cunard was a five star liner but was very disappointed with evening entertainment in theatre.Entertainment somewhat dated and needs more live acts. Some of the entertainment included a juggler (failed acts from Britain's Got Talent) and retired comedian. The theatre group were poor and singing dreadful. Come on Queen Victoria surely you can do better than this. Onboard service is excellent from cabin stewards to waiters in dining rooms all very friendly and give excellent service. Food always excellent very tasty and well presented. Cunard always wanting to charge you for every extra possible. Due to the time of year the weather was poor but nothing Cunard can do to control that even though that was on our survey at end of cruise!! All staff work very hard, poor wages and only 9 month contract because ships are registered in Bahamas they avoid any laws that apply to UK. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton ... Read More
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton which was a first for us. Here are my thoughts about my 14th cruise but first with P&O. I have cruised with 5 other cruise lines. Positives - It was a reasonable price for a 10 day cruise, the entertainment was good and the staff on the whole were efficient, hard working and polite but not over friendly (which suits me). The itinerary was good (except Gibraltar) and the bar/entertainment areas were nice to visit in the evening. We really enjoyed all the entertainment and drinks prices were reasonable. There were quite a few negatives however which will put me off cruising with P&O again. The cabin was dated and small, the age profile of the other guests was extremely old (I am in my 50's and felt young) Everyone was British so on board, it was like a sketch from Little Britain and didn't feel like a med cruise when returning on board each day. The dining room experience was extremely rushed and the 2 person tables were very very close to the next table so no privacy at all. The food in the dining room was uninspiring, I felt that they were working to a budget. Mains such as pies, fish, cornish pasty etc cropping up more than once. Boring food, very disappointing and just the 3 courses! My starter was virtually removed while I was still chewing and replaced immediately by my main course so the dining experience was around 30 minutes in total most nights. The staff worked hard but the ratio of staff to cruisers meant that they had no time to chat and build a rapport which is a first for me on a cruise Apart from a couple of Indian nights in the buffet we felt that the choice and availability of food was the worst we had seen on any cruise. A roast dinner and one other choice plus a very sad salad and desert bar. It closes very early and by around 9 pm there was a tiny station still left open. Pizza bases were not even freshly made on board, a minor thing but summed up the lack of effort for me. Lastly, I felt that the rigorous enforcement of the dress code was very out dated when compared to up market lines such as Celebrity or Holland America. They were happy for you to wear a cheap black suit and tie but not to wear an expensive smart outfit? Why? Consequently I think it attracts its fair share of "twopence ha'penny millionaires" which is quite amusing to watch but sad for P&O as surely they won't survive. Its a package holiday remember and only a 3* at that so they need to improve and move with the times. I am British but will not be selecting P&O again sadly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We ... Read More
most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We were allocated eight thirty dining which was far to late for us, we tried to change this but request was refused. Entertainment was ok, very good guest speaker relating her experiences as a senior police officer. Dancing ballroom, sequence, and line dancing all available. Shows and guest artists all very good. Arcadia attracts a mainly elderly crowd so may not be the ideal choice for younger people Ship clean and well maintained with cabin stewards excellent as always. Ports of call all interesting, with Cartagena and Valencia great places to wander explore plazas and ancient buildings A must visit is to see the futuristic development in Valencia wonderful buildings in a great setting . Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I am not one for negative reviews, having been taught that if you cannot say something nice don't say anything. I will therefore start with the positives:- Boarding - smooth and simple, our cabin was ready at 1300. Cabin - ... Read More
I am not one for negative reviews, having been taught that if you cannot say something nice don't say anything. I will therefore start with the positives:- Boarding - smooth and simple, our cabin was ready at 1300. Cabin - always kept immaculately clean and the stateroom attendant was friendly and acted quickly on the only request we made. Food - Windjammer - plenty of variety of food for all meals (we did not go in the evening) although at busy times it was not always possible to get a table and one of us had to sit to guard the table whilst the other one got their food and when they came back the second person had to go. The food was not as hot as I would have liked. MDR - we were my time dining in Romeo and Juliet deck 3. The food was mostly lovely but when I had the well done Manhattan strip steak it was dry and gristly. The steak was definitely of a lower quality than that we had on Navigator out of Galveston last year. There was plenty of choice on the menu although it was sometimes repetitious. The vegetables were very al dente (as I like them but my husband prefers softer). The wait staff would always bring you a second helping or second choice if requested. We never had to wait for a table, although we did book during the day for that evening. We always got the same table. Guest services - I had occasion to visit them three times for rather unusual requests (ie information about our forthcoming cruise). They did not always know the answer but they certainly tried to assist - making phone calls to others and I felt that they were interested in assisting. Guest lecturer - Ron Johnson - went to both of his lectures on taking Pegasus Bridge on DDay and the Arnhem Drop. Thank you RCL for taking the chance on this inspirational man who I could have listened to all day. Negatives:- Decor - the ship is looking a little tired, for instance the temperature in one jacuzzi would strip the skin from a rhino and the other was normal. Glasses around the sunbeds would not be cleared very quickly. Sunbeds - the cruise was completely full and as you would expect it was not always easy to get a sunbed. Despite notices in the cruise compass saying you could not reserve seats there were of course the ubiquitous reservation towels left for hours at a time. Entertainment - quiz, quiz, quiz, quiz, quiz, zumba, quiz, line dancing, quiz, quiz, sudoko, quiz, free footprint analysis, free do you need botox lectures, free boost your metabolism lectures, art auction (really?), quiz quiz quiz .... You get the drift. The evening's headliner shows were OK - I am afraid I will sound like a snob here - Darren Day was OK but really should not be attempting Bring HIm Home from Les Mis, the magician and the juggler were a bit end of the pier, although the ventriloquist was excellent. The Emperors of Soul (a motown group) were good although their between songs chat was a bit cringy, the Independence of the seas singers and dancers were OK although I have heard much much better. I shall save my most scathing review for the Bohemiams - a Queen tribute. Well I bet Freddie Mercury was spinning in his grave, it was dire. The sound system was not quite right, the instruments were louder than the singer, the lead singer was not FM no matter how hard he tried, and too inappropriate for the audience of mostly older people. Large groups of people were leaving from the second song. That says it all really. We did not go to anything after the headliner show - the Rock Britannia or the 60/70s night on the Royal Promenade. We did do the Strings Ice Show and the Freeze Frame ice show which were OK. In conclusion - we paid a lot of money, yet somehow if felt like a really expensive Butlins and we seemed to be asked for more money all the time. Expensive tours, gratuities charged on drinks when we had pre-paid our gratuities, envelopes left around to assist us in paying more tips (for the extra WOW), being reminded about the more expensive food you can have in the MDR (lobster, fancy steak etc) every night, cheap tat being sold on the Royal Promenade each evening at not greatly reduced prices (in America I understand the term is FOMO - fear of missing out) and the cost of bottled water for going ashore. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Having sailed on the ship twice before and enjoyed it......how times have changed !!! Not enough waiters in bar areas.....poor food in the main restaurants and overall a tired ship.E entertainment ??? Poor. Once upon a time ... Read More
Having sailed on the ship twice before and enjoyed it......how times have changed !!! Not enough waiters in bar areas.....poor food in the main restaurants and overall a tired ship.E entertainment ??? Poor. Once upon a time passengers were treated well on this ship but now it seems that we have to fend for ourselves. Hunt around for a drinks waiter because they are few and far between.Ice show......same show as 2010 .Alhambra theatre entertainment used to have big shows but now just conjurors and comics.One big show only during 13 nights is not good. We used to get 1 free bottle of water but no more....and a little chocolate at night and even that's gone. There must be far better cruise lines now....RCI is all about milking the passengers for all they can.Drinks very pricey as well $7 for a can of beer ....what a joke. Best look elsewhere !!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016

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