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1,313 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise and we chose to go to the Italian Med on Independence of the Seas with another couple. Positives: Staff were friendly and food was good. The entertainment was good with a couple of exceptions. Joff Eaton (Cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we chose to go to the Italian Med on Independence of the Seas with another couple. Positives: Staff were friendly and food was good. The entertainment was good with a couple of exceptions. Joff Eaton (Cruise Director) was very good and thoroughly entertaining. The trips were well organised but would have liked to spent longer at some destinations. Negatives: 1. Not being able to use the pools due to many families with children hogging them. It would have been nice to have a swim after the hot trip days but we were only able to have a cool shower. I think there must have been a few Germans on board because there were many towels left on recliners which apparently was not allowed but this was not followed through. I would suggest that people who do not have children holiday during school times and then you might get a look in. 2. Paying extra for bottles of water, cappuccinos etc. 3. The lifts had a mind of their own and we had to wait a long time if we wanted to go to the top of the ship. It usually meant that we had to climb the stairs and take some time out to recover. 4. Reading their suggestions for tips was very amusing which if we followed these suggestions would have put a further 400 dollars on to our bill. A big TIP is as soon as you embark, go to the passenger services on deck 5 and ask for the gratuities to be removed from your final invoice as you will tip at the end of the cruise. We handed cash to the people who we felt deserved a tip at the end. Tips have to be earned not be automatically added. 5. Drinks prices were astronomical so beware. 6. Tiny closet in the cabin which means your clothes are crushed. Irons are not included in the cabins so you have to pay to have your clothes ironed and this is by no means cheap. Take enough underwear with you because a pair of pants costs $1.95 to be laundered. 7. Photographers seemed to follow us wherever we went. Before we went into dinner, the full length of the promenade and every time we disembarked. Be careful as the pictures are again very expensive to purchase. 8. We requested (on line when we booked the cruise) to be seated with our friends at the dining table. This was ignored and we had to queue at the passenger services desk to resolve this. There are a few more negatives but I think this is enough. It has not put us off cruising again but we will probably go with P & O who our friends have been with and could not fault. We will not cruise on this ship again.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We booked this cruise just 4 weeks before we sailed. We have only ever sailed with P&O (twice a year for the last 7 years) so have nothing to compare it with other than comments on here and what we hear from fellow passengers !! We ... Read More
We booked this cruise just 4 weeks before we sailed. We have only ever sailed with P&O (twice a year for the last 7 years) so have nothing to compare it with other than comments on here and what we hear from fellow passengers !! We have sailed on Ventura once before, 4 years ago, and at that time felt a lot of the passengers were a bit "rough" and it was clearly being marketed as a very family friendly and very casual ship. (Well, more casual than the rest of the fleet)and at the lower end of the cruiser market !!! I sound like a snob !! This time around the cruise we chose was the only one that fitted in with what we wanted to do, and I wanted a hot sun cruise round bog standard Western Med destinations. That said, we had never been to Marseilles, Algherro, Malaga or la Coruna, so we were looking forward to those ports. Gibraltar, Barcelona and Livorno were the others. Embarkation was superb and the best we have ever had, very quick. We miss the old style sailaways with a band and a sense of occasion. No band, and we had started to leave by the time emergency drill had been done. No sense of excitement at all and over priced booze !! (Although generally P&O are very reasonable with drinks prices) The weather was superb. wall to wall sun every day, and some days were very hot. We used our balcony a lot, so really got value for money. Thank goodness we had a balcony as we couldnt have got a sun lounger on the decks - which were heaving. That is a major minus point of this ship. Despite warnings not to do so, most people just reserved their loungers at the crack of dawn, then went to breakfast. My partner swam first thing on a number of days and said rows of loungers were reserved with towels etc, even at 8am !! We also noted that it was always the same people sat right beside the pools. The cabin was well presented and our steward did a good job. The balcony was a decent size, but was quite dirty. I like the open walk in wardrobes in this ship (and Azura) which allow much more hanging space. We are late risers so are never in time for breakfast in the main dining rooms. We like the alternatives to the buffet, offered on Oceana (Cafe Jardin), Aurora (cafe Bordeaux) and oriana (Al Fresco). However despite being a big ship, there are no such alternatives on Ventura, and we ran the gamut of the buffet every morning. The food there isnt that bad, but at about 10am it is like a rat run !! We took one lunch in the main dining room which was pleasant, we usually skip lunch if we have a snack from the grill or have afternoon tea. Afternoon Tea has gone right down hill (or maybe it is just this ship) - there is no finess and they want to serve you everything at once. I really dont want a crumpet when I am still trying to eat the scones and cream !! Evening meals in the Saffron restaurant were , as always, very good and our waiters were superb. We had a jolly table and a good time was had by all !! We ate in the White Room once and had a fantastic meal, and had two lunches in the Glass House which were also of good quality. The Headliners theatre group were very good, and not having sailed on this ship for 4 years, three of the shows were new to us. A novelty as we have seen most of them umpteen times and P&O seem to notewant to introduce new theatre shows to their fleet. Over the last few years we have felt the cabaret artists have declined in standard, but not on this cruise. Clem Curtis, Laura Carter and Jamie Allen were superb. The ventriloquist was berabale, and the only damp squib was a french pair (Charlie and Jeremy) who did one show of juggling and tumbling. An act better suited to a circus and not very good at that either !! The bands, and dance bands were all excellent and overall the entertainent was very very good. I Understand from what I hear from other people who cruise multiple lines, that P&O are usually the best for evening entertainment and I can quite beleive it. That said, the Cruise Director was Hughie Taylor, so we knew he would be virtually invisible ( we know what he is like) and this was the case. For a family cruise in high season, we expected more daytime activities. maybe they knew everyone would be out enjoying the sun, who knows, but there was little to do. There were no port presentations (these were just on the TV on a loop, so you had to listen to them all to get to the one you wanted), there was no interview with the captain, there was no interview with the headliners troop, there was no classical act. Maybe they dont do these things on Ventura, who knows, but this was the first cruise we have done where there was none of those things. The ports were all as to be expected with decent times in port (8am until 4 or 5 most days). Gibraltar was 1 till 7 (but that is usually half a day anyway and lets face it, its a tip, who wants a full day there !!) . The main problem was Algherro on Sardinia. Our only tender port. The process of queuing for our tender ticket to actually stepping foot on land took from 10.15am until 12.55pm = a staggering 2hrs 40 mins. NOT GOOD ENOUGH P&O. Despite regular updates and assuranaces they were doing all they could, this should not have happened. It appeared to many folk that P&O should not be taking their biggest ships to tender ports as they cannot cope with the huge numers of folk wanting to get of. They have been here before with Ventura so must have known what would happen. The feeble excuse was that there was a 3mph speed limit in the harbour - what utter rot. The real reason was they mis judged that most people would want to go ashore mid morning. They should issue tickets for time slots, the day before. Obviously they won't because that would entail extra costs. Hey ho, we still had 2.5 hourts ashore but it could have been longer. Similarly quesues for shuttles were often quote long, and where we could, we walked into town. We did two tours - both "on your owns" to Sitges from Barcelona,and to Florence from Livorno. Both as to be expected. The theme of queues was one of the main themes of the cruise It was a very busy cruise. A young average age, with lots of kids and teenagers and large families on board. The ship was very busy and it was often a relief to retire to the quiet of our cabin and balcony. I like a busy ship, with a younger clientele, and it was busy until very late each evening, but perhaps I prefer it not quite as busy as it was !! Completely the opposite to Arcadia and Oriana which are now like floating rest homes and where everyone goes to bed at 11.30pm. On Ventura, there were lots of teenagers running along corridors and hanging around stairwells and lifts because they had nothing to do !! We had our cabin "make up" card stolen on one evening and our steward said it was a regular occurance, as the kids often took them out of all the doors. That said, there was no trouble on the cruise, but one felt that it was bever very far away. There were some very large family groups on board, who looked rather forbidding, and a bit rough. If challenged I expect they could have kicked off !!! This cruise had the feel of Butlins at sea and did not have any finness about it at times. On the 4 formal nights, compliance wasnt too bad, but we saw some people dressed completely casually, just milling around with everyone else in black tie. Thats the problem with a "suggested" dress code. It should be an enforced one, then the ones who want to remain casual can eat in the buffet !!! That said, everyone was clearly having a good time and , unlike Arcadia and Oriana, we encountered no moaners or whingers. BUT, the cruise just lacked a bit of finness. The food, service and entertainment were good quality as always, and for what we are now paying , it still represents good valuie for money, but clearly this ship is aimed at a market that I really dont want to cruise with regularly. I understand from a travel agent friend that ventura is P&O's most heavily re-booked ship. It clearly appeals to those it is martketed at, and thus is doing its job, so nothing weill change. I will stick to Aurora, Azura, and Oceana in future, with occasional forays on Oriana, but will only go on ventura again if I have no other options. Of course I could try another cruise line, but I hate large groups of Americans, so best to stick with P&O !!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our second P&O cruise, the first being in December last year on the Azura. We booked about six weeks before sailing and got what I thought was a good deal on an inside cabin. However one week later, for a very short time, the ... Read More
This was our second P&O cruise, the first being in December last year on the Azura. We booked about six weeks before sailing and got what I thought was a good deal on an inside cabin. However one week later, for a very short time, the same website was offering an outside cabin with balcony for the same price. A little frustrating but what can you do. Cabins were ready as soon as we got on board and half our luggage got to it before we did. Our cabin steward Sharon was quick to introduce herself but we saw very little of her during the trip. Because of P&Os sensible policy regarding bringing drink on board, we asked Sharon for a bucket of ice to be delivered around 5.00pm each evening and she was happy to oblige. The layout of the Ventura is identical to the Azura so it took next to no time to familiarise ourselves and were pleasantly surprised by the general decor of the ship, which I thought was presented in a more tasteful fashion than the Azura. Throughout the trip there seemed to be intermittent problems with the lifts which often led to long waiting times. It was not helped by several kids who thought it would be a good game and took delight in making sure that lifts stopped on every floor. As far as food was concerned, we had requested a table of six for the second sitting and were delighted to quickly make friends with the other two couples on our table. While I found the service from our waiter Gilbert to be excellent, we were a little dismayed one evening when he was quite rude to a guest when she complained about her steak being underdone. He implied that she got what she ordered although this was not the case. Other than this one incident, service was faultless. I am a big meat eater and my wife prefers fish, we were both very happy with the variety and quality. We were not happy with the cold toast at breakfast!! Other reviews have already commented that some of the staff were quite rude and I would mirror this observation, especially the staff in Costa Coffee. Equally frustrating was the delay in ordering drinks from the roving waiters. Their practice was to walk around offering their service but not returning to the bar to fulfil orders until they had multiple requests. This meant that quite often you would have anything up to a fifteen minute wait before drinks were delivered. Entertainment throughout the trip was varied and of a high standard. I did feel that both the magician and the comedian who performed twice during the cruise were unable to match their first nights performance. In both instances the second show was not as good as the first. I would also like to single out two members of the entertainment team. Firstly the Cruise Director, simply because he was almost invisible. Apart from welcoming us aboard on the first night, the only other time I saw him was drinking in the bar on the last night. He made one announcement a day over the public address system where his attempt at humour was at best very poor. He left everything else up to his team. Perception is reality and in my experience he was useless. Conversely, Andrew Lazarus contributed greatly to our enjoyment of the cruise and I would single him out for special praise. He has only been doing the job for a year but if he sticks at it he will have a long and successful career. The cruise had all the usual Atrium sales. Interestingly the day before we arrived in Gibraltar, a duty free port, the on board duty free shop took a further 15% off its prices. I am not complaining as I got a great deal on Bushmills Whisky. This saved me time shopping in Gib and we were able to spend a few hours on a rather dirty beach instead. Most of the other ports were very nice to visit and Lisbon was a delight to sail into and out of. We didnt go on any organised tours as I think they are overpriced and offer little value. If you are not scared of engaging with the locals you can normally get to see what you want to for considerably less. Of course you run the risk of not getting back to the ship in time but proper planning should remove this issue. While this was a family friendly cruise, I particularly liked the Adults only areas and the pool with no kids allowed. In summary, I felt that it would have been nicer to stay a couple of hours longer in each port, perhaps the ship could have sailed a little faster to compensate. Some of the visits, especially Gibraltar really were whistle stop. It is always possible to nit-pick but when all is said and done cruising still represents fantastic value for money. Over the seven years that I have been cruising there is little doubt that standards are dropping and corners being cut. Unfortunately this is the way of the world and P&O are just as guilty as any other cruise line. This will not stop me cruising again and I cant wait for my next one (January next year). Perhaps I will get warm toast!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our first cruise, chosen because Royal Caribbean have a good reputation for family-friendly ships and because it fitted specific date requirements. We are a family of four (children aged 9 and 7). We live in Hampshire so found it ... Read More
This was our first cruise, chosen because Royal Caribbean have a good reputation for family-friendly ships and because it fitted specific date requirements. We are a family of four (children aged 9 and 7). We live in Hampshire so found it very easy and quick to arrive at the dock in Southampton, which was well signposted. Embarkation was easy, although we had to queue at check-in for 10 minutes or so. We went straight to the Windjammer for lunch with our hand luggage, and then out onto deck. We had interconnecting promenade cabins on deck 6, which were perfect, apart from a very high level of "white noise" at night, it sounded as though there was a dishwasher running close by. Our stateroom attendant Bruce was very friendly and helpful. The children loved the towel animals and we enjoyed going to the demonstration of how to make them on the last day. We settled in quickly and found it very easy to get our bearings around the ship as the signage at the elevators was very clear. Food - we had breakfast in the Windjammer every day and lunch there when we weren't in port, we were very impressed with the selection of food, friendliness of staff and lack of queues even at busy times. Evening meals were taken in the Mozart room on My Time, we didn't pre-book for the first day and would have had to wait 45 mins for a table so used the WJ that evening, but otherwise no problems. We also used the WJ for the 2nd and 3rd formal evenings to avoid having to dress up. The waiting staff in the Mozart were helpful, friendly and attentive, we had the same team every time. One of my few grumbles was the children's menu - the same every night and limited to much lower quality food than the adults menu, the children ended up eating off the adults menu instead quite often. We also ate in Portofino once and were impressed by the quality of the food. Leisure - the children LOVED Adventure Ocean and spent as much time as they could in there. During the day they towards the end of the cruise they tired of the pool and mini golf and would have liked a few more things to do. We noticed the pool attendants on Deck 11 trying unsuccessfully to police the reserved sunlounger situation, I'm not sure how they are supposed to enforce the 30 min rule to be honest. In the evenings we went to about 4 of the shows, including the ice one, and they were all good. We also took part in the quiz at 8 in the Schooner bar most nights which was good fun. Did not use the spa, gym, ice-rink or inline skating. We also liked exploring the quieter decks - deck 4, helipad, peek-a-boo bridge. If we didn't go to the theatre, most evenings found us in the Blue Moon bar, with fabulous views. Port visits (all with children). Gibraltar - did the Upper Rock Walking Tour, which was excellent, visiting St Michael's Cave and the wartime tunnels (lovely to be underground in such hot weather). Cannes - we went 15 mins early to get tender tickets and were off on the third tender of the day with no problems, although it was mayhem getting the tickets. We took the open air street train and explored by ourselves before returning on the tender mid afternoon, again, very little waiting and no problems. Rome - we took the Glories of Gladiators tour, which was really enjoyable and interesting, we also enjoyed an afternoon exploring by ourselves. Pisa - we took the early Pisa on your own tour, which was perfect, it was a very hot day, so good to be back on board by lunchtime. Genoa - we just got off and walked, we walked to the old port area (maybe a mile) and generally pottered and explored. Malaga - took a short tour to a viewpoint above the city and back around the town before having time to explore on our own. Beautiful city, would like to go back one day. Lisbon - took the Lisbon city tour, which encompassed the old town, a bus ride north to a park with great views, a visit to the waterfront to the Tower of Belem and a church before returning to ship. The most hair raising moment of the entire cruise was passing under the suspension bridge with all of 2.5m (according to the Captain's Q&A session) clearance. One more thing - my daughter cut her head open whilst on deck (bent down to pick something up, stood up and caught it on a rail), we checked the Cruise Compass and found that the medical room was open so went straight there. She was seen and treated immediately by the nurse and doctor, which was very reassuring. Disembarkation was very easy, we set our alarms for 6.15 (having put our bags out the night before), had breakfast, went to our rendezvous point at 7.15 and were directed straight off the ship, bags were immediately available and we were on the road by 7.30. All in all it was a great holiday. I had been quite worried that I wasn't going to enjoy it (we normally go camping!) but it was great and we will do it again one day. Took me three days back on land to stop feeling drunk from the motion though! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
A family of three, 2 adults and our daugter who was 6 on holiday. Booked about 14months previously with a travel agent, which to be honest we wouldnt bother with again, as there was no benefit, (except a discount) and we had to pay months ... Read More
A family of three, 2 adults and our daugter who was 6 on holiday. Booked about 14months previously with a travel agent, which to be honest we wouldnt bother with again, as there was no benefit, (except a discount) and we had to pay months before we would have done if booking directly with RCI. Two cruises under our belts pre children with P&O. Switched to RCI as we felt they are geared more to family cruising. We love cruising from Southampton and again this didnt disappoint. check in was a breeze - park up, leave luggage by car and walk to check. We were pleasantly surprise by the speedy check-in for Gold Crown and Anchor members as we werent expecting this. Sailed on Independence last year so we had a vague idea of the layout and werent lost and had our bearings straight away. rooms ready just before 2 which was great. We haven't had the D1 balcony before (last years cruise a special anniversary and managed a JS!) but were surprised by the storage space (one of our worries if there was going to be enough we dont travel light!) We knew the ship is due a refurb and to be honest the room was a little tired but didnt detract from our holiday. thought towels were very fluffy. Our cabin attendant Ezra looked after us very well - especially all my daughters cuddly toys that managed to come along too! Our room always cleaned early which i like. Restaurants: Windjammer - this was much better than our experience on indy. seemed less busy and always found a table. we didnt eat here much - half our breakfasts were here and to be honest food as good if not better than the express breakfast in the main restaurant. MDR - chose a table of 10 as we like meeting others, it was a shame only 1 other couple ever turned up. we looked like billy no mates sometimes and has questioned whether to do fixed seating again. We chose early dining as we like our daughter to eat with us, and all around us were half empty tables. Food we thought was very good, and thought there was a lot of choice. Waiter pedro looked after us very well especially on my daughters birthday. Note we did book room service breakfast once when we were in Rome with an early start - pleased with the call to confirm we were awake and arrived bang on time. Daughter spent half the day at kids club and half with us by pool. adventure beach area a little disappointing and more patrols needed as often it was taken over by older kids Sea days was difficult to get a sun bed. someone needs to come up with an idea! Gym was well equipped and busy - it would have been nice for more control if children in the gym as despite the signs they were there - i have no issue with serious gym users, but in terms of the children when i was in there only half of them were serious. There were chargeable pilates classes and I would have done more of these due to the timings and schedule seemed not to sync with port days or early evening dinner sitting. The couple of shows we saw were good - but met some lovely people and tended to have a drink and a chat in the pub. Teens - yes there were a lot on board, to be expected in summer holidays. they are a fairly unusual breed if you are not used to them and do tend to walk in packs which can appear intimidating- but in reality I didnt really see any that were doing anything wrong. There is always a possibility that the second cruise with RCI might not have the wow factor, but this was not the case. The service was excellent and the ships crew across the board were friendly, welcoming and helpful. apart from our cabin I didnt notice specific areas that needed a refurb. PS couldnt believe the calmness of the bay of biscay, like a millpond it was. PPS pleased to see that bar prices included gratuities. Happy to have climbed to platinum and would happily rebook with RCI.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was only our second sailing with RCI although we have done several Med cruises from Southampton with other lines. The embarkation was the smoothest I have ever encountered, there were plenty of staff around to help and the queue was ... Read More
This was only our second sailing with RCI although we have done several Med cruises from Southampton with other lines. The embarkation was the smoothest I have ever encountered, there were plenty of staff around to help and the queue was non-existent, before we knew it we were boarding the ship. We were told our rooms would be ready at about 2pm so we grabbed a snack from the Windjammer and enjoyed a peaceful hour sat near the pool people watching. The announcement about the rooms being available came earlier than the predicted 2pm which was a nice surprise. We had originally booked a Grand suite as our teenage son was going to be sharing with us and I knew I would find an ordinary balcony stateroom too small but at the last minute his older sister decided to join us so they ended up with an inside stateroom along the corridor and all of a sudden my husband and I had the luxury of a Grand suite all to ourselves! Our cabin was obviously very spacious although the balcony was much smaller than is offered with a GS on IOS. However I liked the fact that it was enclosed and private even though it was smaller although having one sunbed did seem a bit odd. Unfortunately, although our stateroom was clean it was obviously in need of a refurb. One of the sinks leaked badly in to the cupboard underneath, something I didn't discover until my toiletries were all soaked. On closer inspection I realised that the back of the cupboard was quite rotten so it had obviously been a problem for a while. The air-conditioning in the bathroom also leaked so we had to keep towels on the floor to prevent accidental slips. The kettle would only work if we stood there holding the button in all the time and opening and closing the drawers required muscles of steel and was so noisy I felt sorry for anyone underneath us. On top of this the soft furnishings and headboard were badly stained and there were a few nicks out of the furniture. The inside stateroom occupied by my children was actually in a much better state of repair but I was surprised to see that although they had a kettle they had no coffee maker or instant coffee and the only toiletries they had were a cheap, thin bar of soap and a shampoo/showergel combination. Our room steward was not very attentive. I think we are easy to look after guests, we are tidy and put everything away and usually make no requests. However by the third day I had to ask for teabags, to have the menu sheets changed in the folder, to have the glasses replaced that we had used on the first day etc. I think that these are basic roles and I should not have had to go and find him to ask for them, he never even actually introduced himself. The room steward for my children however was an absolute star, friendly and helpful as well as being extremely efficient. We had opted for My time dining and asked for a table for 4 which was always accommodated. We had the same staff every night, Whyte and Nareem who were brilliant. They remembered everyones preferences and were friendly without being over the top. Most of the food we had was very nice although I felt there was sometimes too much shellfish on the menu and it was a bit repetitive. On two occasions we had problems with our meal (cold meatballs and extremely undercooked chicken) and Nareem was there as soon as he spotted that we weren't enjoying our meals. We took our other meals in the Windjammer where we found there was a good selection of food although some of it could have done with being hotter. The staff were always friendly and helpful and would help you look for a seat if needed. I really don't think there is enough seating here for the size of the ship and breakfast on port days and lunch on seadays could get very hectic. We found the Cruise Director, Clo, and her staff very friendly and approachable. We enjoy quizzes and loved the fact that there were several every day and the staff were always happy to engage with their audience and made a good atmosphere. We enjoy going to the theatre in the evenings and on the whole we enjoyed most of the performances. We thought the iceshow was great too and we were surprised to find that we quite enjoyed watching the gameshows as well even though I wouldn't have said they were my thing! We found the evening flowed really well and there was always something we wanted to do. We are not drinkers and don't enjoy spending our evening just sat in a bar so we found that there was always something to entertain us on the Adventure. There were several musical combos on board including one duo where the guy was brilliant and the girl had the worst diction and stage presence that I have ever come across! My son and daughter both had a go at the rock climbing and the inline skating. As we had found on the IOS the staff were all chatty and helpful and were not at all condescending and really wanted to make sure people enjoyed their activities. The ice-skating times were very restrictive and were only available towards the end of the cruise and in the evenings which tended to coincide with meal times. My son tried one session but although he can skate well he said it was rowdy and there were people skating in opposite directions and he thought it was getting dangerous on such a small rink so didn't go again. The biggest disappointment on the cruise was actually the ports. I had chosen the itinerary as there were several ports that I hadn't been to before and it also included Barcelona which was on my bucket list. Another port that caught my eye was Malaga as I knew RCI ran excursions to Alhambra palace which I was desperate to see. However most of the ports were industrial and a long way from the towns, this is pretty inevitable but at $15 each for a shuttle bus this could get quite expensive. Luckily we had researched most ports and knew of local buses and shuttles that ran and were much cheaper but I feel that the cruise company almost hide this information for every port except Barcelona. We took a Gaudi tour in Barcelona which we really enjoyed although I felt it was a bit rushed. The problem with the rest of the ports was that they were all very similar, there was not much to do locally without taking excursions and since they all have the same history they have pretty much the same architecture and town layout as each other. Usually our itineraries have included an Italian port or maybe La Rochelle or Guernsey so there is more diversity than was available on this trip. When I studied the excursions from Malaga I found that they were not running one to Alhambra as the ship wasn't docked long enough, I was very disappointed when I found this out. Although I have mentioned that I felt our stateroom was rather tired I felt that the majority of ship looked in excellent condition and was always spotlessly clean. The only obvious signs of wear were on the seats in the Schooner and the Imperial lounge which were sometimes a little fragile! The lower deck area around the pool seemed to get very busy and the pool attendants did not do a very good job of policing their chair-hogging rule. One day we were on our sunbeds at 9am on a seaday. The 4 beds in front of us had towels and a few possessions on them already. Throughout the day we swapped and changed our beds with our children whilst we were in the pool or they were grabbing a meal etc. Over the course of the next 6 hours no-one came near the beds and only a little while later did we actually see the pool attendant decide to move the peoples stuff. The top deck usually had sunbeds available although it was quite breezy up there on some days. Overall we enjoyed our time on Adventure. I think she is the perfect size of ship for us and I really hope to sail on her again after she had been through dry-dock but I feel that RCI have left the refurb a little late and for the money that I spent on our Staterooms I feel that I should have had a better standard of accommodation.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Left Southampton on Saturday 27th July for a two week western Mediterranean cruise on board the crown princess. Embarkation took half an hour but once on board everything went smoothly. We had a midship cabin on Rivera deck 14, to keep ... Read More
Left Southampton on Saturday 27th July for a two week western Mediterranean cruise on board the crown princess. Embarkation took half an hour but once on board everything went smoothly. We had a midship cabin on Rivera deck 14, to keep costs down we booked an inside stateroom which saved us 600 compared to my sisters balcony state room directly opposite ours. First impressions of the ship were good and the public areas were fabulous . We choose a set dining times and were happy we made that decision because anytime diners were queuing for tables every evening. Our dining room was the Di Vinci, the food was good but too many fish dishes for my taste. One evening 5 out of the 6 appetisers were fish and the other choice was sweetbreads yuck ! Only one vegetarian choice too. The horizon court buffet dining was good but had limited seating, excellent choice of food though with waiters to get you a FREE lemonade, water or hot drink once you were seated. We didn't eat at the Italian restaurant or the crown grill because you had to pay an additional 25 dollars charge per person plus the cost of your drinks to eat there. The international cafe was great for a coffee and light snack the food was free but there was a small harem for drinks and ice creams. The Internet cafe was expensive what seemed like a few minutes on line could quickly come to 15 dollars. The pools etc were great, as was the many bars and most of the entertainment We stopped at some wonderful ports and with the help of cruising excursions went on 5 sightseeing trips at a very reasonable cost in comparison to the cruise ship prices for excursions.Negatives about crown princess are the constant hard sell, no matter what we went to see crew always tried to sell you products for example we went to a cooking demonstration and galley tour guess what they had cookery books for sale, we went to a seminar about Jackie Kennedy's jewellery which was very interesting and enjoyable until the crew began trying to get you to buy replicas. This was a continuing theme Sell, Sell, Sell . No tea or coffee making facilities in your stateroom and no matter how quick room service was the drinks were never quite hot enough. Not enough sun beds common complaint but true. Not always enough to do if you didn't want to sit in the sun, entertainment was very American. Drinks VERY EXPENSIVE and with all the gratuity and tips it became a very expensive holiday. Would I go with princess again, no probably not ,way to expensive and didn't like the hard sell all the time, it became very tedious . Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
The ship - the Adventure is starting to show her age some at this point but is well maintained. We saw people cleaning constantly and feel the staff did a great job in this area. The Ports - we enjoyed all the ports. We loved Malaga! It ... Read More
The ship - the Adventure is starting to show her age some at this point but is well maintained. We saw people cleaning constantly and feel the staff did a great job in this area. The Ports - we enjoyed all the ports. We loved Malaga! It was beautiful, not too crazy with us tourists, and our tapas tour was great. We did ship tours in every port but Cannes and were happy with them for the most part. The staff - the staff was great. Everyone was very helpful, courteous, and happy to help. The children on this cruise were a bit of an issue at times. It got to the point where security was stationed near stairways and also roaming to keep everything in order. We saw these extra security people sometimes as early as 6pm. I give RCCL credit for attempting to keep the kids out of trouble. The Food - this was the most disappointing variety of food I have ever had on a cruise. Of course I did find stuff to eat on the ship, but the main dining room choices were disappointing. The cruise was billed as an Italian Med Cruise, but we didn't even have an Italian themed night for the dining room. We have done other European cruises and the food choices have always included food from the countries visited, but not this one. Even our British table mates were surprised by the lack of choices. They also wanted something more than what they could get at home. Overall we did enjoy the cruise and will be sailing with RCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Having spent hours scouring Cruise Critic for tips & hints prior to our first cruise, heres our post cruise contribution no apologies for the length as Ive tried to cover everything Id want to know as a cruise newbie! Embarkation ... Read More
Having spent hours scouring Cruise Critic for tips & hints prior to our first cruise, heres our post cruise contribution no apologies for the length as Ive tried to cover everything Id want to know as a cruise newbie! Embarkation (Southampton) The whole process was quick, painless & well-rehearsed. Arrived at ABP at 1030 hrs and were directed where to park. Our suitcases were loaded into a van right by the car and we then walked the short distance to the terminal. Here we checked in and were given our sea passes, through passport control, hand luggage x-rayed and then onto the ship  all very slick and so much easier than flying! (We took too much hand luggage  you really dont need to!) By 11.30 hrs we were in the Windjammer on Deck 11 having lunch, first drink in hand! We then took the opportunity to look round the ship and get our bearings before the announcement at 13.45 hrs that all rooms were ready  15 mins ahead of schedule. Our suitcases arrived at 16.25 hrs which we were really impressed with. Muster Drill Mandatory muster drill was at 15.45 hrs the bar staff on deck were encouraging people to proceed to designated stations well ahead of the alarm, so it didnt feel very realistic to us. I guess the main point was ensuring people knew where they had to go  just in case. Once there, our names were checked off and the crew demonstrated how to put on a life jacket. All quite painless, but of course there were some stragglers we had to wait for before being dismissed. Sail away was at 16.45 hrs amidst a sounding of horns with P&Os Arcadia! Adventure of the Seas What a fabulous ship! We can quite understand why some people fall in love with her and come back time after time. She was the perfect size  big enough to have plenty of amenities but compact enough to get round easily. She was spotlessly clean and kept in very good condition wear`n tear was certainly not an issue to us. When she goes into dry dock next year for 10 days theyre spending $50million on refurb! (Captains Corner talk was very interesting!) Rooms We had 2 inside cabins (children 18 & 15) on Deck 9 which were surprisingly spacious. Loads of cupboard space and no need for over-the-door pocket toiletry holders! Magnets were a good idea  we wrote out meal & excursions times and stuck them to the wall for the kids so they always knew when to be ready. Downside was not having any indication of daylight  yes a TV channel had a camera of the front of the ship, but it alternated with a map of the cruise, so not really an option to have that on all night. Turn down service was good each evening and it was great to have a fresh ice bucket twice daily. There were 2 days where they offered a bag of laundry for $25  we didnt use this, but would consider in future and take less clothes! The attendants were great  especially Philip who waited until 12.30 pm each day to clean our childrens room  giving our son to recover from the long nights! Towel animals are done every other night. Pool Towels We signed them out on Day 1, then swapped them at the end of each day  easier than swiping in and out all the time  and turned them in on the last day. Dining Breakfast We tried the MDR once for a la carte and once for express buffet (on sea days) but we preferred the Windjammer and always headed to the back of the ship where it was less busy and had a good view. If youre on the drinks package, start the day with a Mimosa or Bellini! Look out for the Chocolate Breakfast  check the MDR menus before going to bed! Lunch  Windjammer had excellent choice and we never failed to get a table. Taking food out (eg to pool decks or rooms) was never an issue. On sea days there were sometimes BBQs by the main pool, or food on the Promenade deck  although not well advertised in advance. Dinner - We booked My Time Dining on the advice of our Travel Agent. On hindsight, fixed late dining would have suited us better. We booked the Main Dining Room for the whole holiday on the first day and they tried to put us with the same wait staff each night. Timings were generally geared to the two main seatings  the latest we could get was 18.15 or 20.15  but they would hold the table for 45 mins from the earliest slot eg 17.45 until 18.30 hrs. Our waiters Rayland & Stacian were superb as was our drinks waiter Rony  we ll never forget them! Rony brought us a different Shooter of the day each night and also made the Oreo Cookie Milkshake for our daughter  both things we d seen on this forum but were not advertised on board. Ask and they will oblige! Tip - pre book a MTD time for the first night  it was exceptionally busy and all the late slots in the MDR had gone so enjoying sail away was cut short. 24 hrs- Caf Promenade is the place for tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and pizza, sandwiches, cakes & cookies. Ham & cheese croissants became a late night staple! We visited here prior to each trip to fill our water bottles (use glasses to fill as not allowed to fill straight from machine). Bars Loved the different ambiance of them all  Duck & Dog British Pub, Sophistication of Champagne Bar, Jesters Nightclub (best place to get served promptly at 22.00 hrs!), Sports Bar, Blue Moon lounge, Crows Nest, Imperial Lounge, Pool Bars, Schooner bars nautical theme, casino bar truly something for everyone! Drinks Package After much deliberation we took the plunge and booked the Ultimate Package. Did we get our monies worth? Yes! Did it encourage us to drink more than we might have done? Yes! Did it encourage us to try new things? Yes! Would we do it again? Maybe! We have a philosophy of work hard, play hard but this isnt good for our health!! Average day for me was as follows: Bellini with breakfast, mid morning Cocktail of day, wine at lunch, mid afternoon drink, pre-dinner drink, 2 x wine with dinner, shooter , couple of nightcaps. With drinks averaging $8 (advertised prices included gratuities), its easy to get your moneys worth at this level  and with steady drinking we were never drunk or hungover! Hubby got additional use out of his package too We never experienced poor service due to having the package we get the impression it was very common on this trip. Without the package, there are opportunities for free drinks eg Captains cocktail party & Art Auctions! Murder Mystery This was only really worth the money it if you havent booked the drinks package as the wine & champagne was flowing! We expected more Agatha Christie but this was quite slap stick. Good night but wouldnt do it again. Meet n Mingle Unfortunately there was a mix up and not everyone got invitations for Day 2. They put on another one on Day 5 but as a result we didnt get to meet everyone sadly. Non alcoholic drink on arrival, canaps and a raffle nice touch by RCI. Staff The biggest asset! They were all so friendly, happy and eager to please! We gave additional cash gratuities to some and they looked genuinely shocked! There was no hint of expectation at all. It was really nice that they called us by name too! Shows We were disappointed with the production shows wed expected west end type shows, not ships own offerings. Abba tribute band was good, as were the comedians, but its a shame there were only 2 of these, and both in the first few days. Love and Marriage and the Quest were both entertaining. (Billed as recommended for adults but too many youngsters in there). Ice show was good but not quite as good as our expectations! 18-25s We were concerned about activities (or lack of) for our 18 year old son. The first couple of nights they did organised Meet `n Mingle sessions for this age group in Jesters nightclub. After that they met up and did their own thing  we hardly saw him all holiday! 15  17s Our daughter went to Optrix teen club on the first night and made some good friends  again we hardly saw her! We liked the 1am curfew, but they found ways round it by going to each others rooms! We never had any concerns about where she was or who she was with they all seemed sensible teens and it was a safe and secure environment - the security staff were prominent and really nice. We took cheap PAYG phones for them to text us to keep in touch signal was a bit hit and miss though. Leaving post it notes for each other worked the best. Internet We didnt bother whilst on board as it was very expensive. 1.99 per day with O2 when ashore was plenty for us to check emails, use the internet etc. Trips We opted for RCIs own trips for the most part which were very well organised turn up at Lyric Theatre, collect a sticker and take a seat until your tour is called. Gibraltar Walking Tour  good trip with prebooked cable car tickets, top of the rock, apes, St Michaels cave & siege tunnels. We opted to stay in Gib for shopping and make our own way back to the ship which was very easy. Cannes  booking a tour for this stop was worthwhile due to the tendering process  we were off the ship at 08.15 whereas others we spoke to without prebooked trips had to wait until the afternoon. Tour itself was a bit of a route march in the heat and not as good as Gib. Rome on your own Train  45 min air conditioned ride to Rome was a good choice. We got the metro to the Colosseum but opted not to go in (long queues even by the Forum, too hot and time pressured), did the Trevi fountain, Pantheon, Castle St Angelo and then had prebooked Vatican tickets for 13.00 hrs. Exit the Vatican at the right hand door from the Sistine Chapel (group exit!) and you can get straight into St Peters without queuing separately. Pisa  great trip with tower tickets included. Would have liked to have spent longer there though! Genoa  did our own thing. Easy to walk off ship and there is a city bus tour. Malaga tapas tour  the best trip we did but probably due to the food and wine!! Lisbon city tour  a lot of `on the bus, off the bus but we did see quite a bit. With hindsight the city bus would probably have been just as good and cheaper. Dress The 3 formal nights were great  especially the first one with free champagne at the Captains cocktail party on the promenade! Also a chance for a photo with the Captain. It was great to see so many people dressed up and really didnt matter that half the ship was in shorts and t-shirts! It really is a case of each to their own and you fit in no matter what you wear! Disappointment for us was only one smart casual night  and even then the Cruise Compass published it incorrectly as casual! Smart jeans and a top is fine in the MDR on casual nights. Photo Package We pre-purchased on line and it was worth every penny as we came away with 120 photos and a CD individual photos were $20 to buy! Photographers were friendly and never pushy. View your photos every day or two and they store them for you behind the counter ready for collection on the last night. We never had to prove we had the package again, all well organised. Spending Limit for Kids We asked Guest Relations to place a limit on our childrens Sea Passes  i.e. we authorised a set limit for the first week, then increased it for the second week. This worked really well and we could also view all their transactions on our TV screen! No problem with our 18 year old drinking alcohol as sailing out of the UK. Sunbeds On sea days these were at a premium and generally were taken by 09.30. We did see staff put stickers on chairs to monitor the 30 minute rule. The sides of Deck 4 and the Helipad were favourites for some quiet space! Peek-a-Boo bridge on Deck 4 is also worth a look. Behind Scenes Tour This was available for 15 people only on the final sea day at a cost of $150!! Would have loved to have done this  but how can RCI justify this cost?!! Weve done similar tours for free on previous holidays. Overheard someone talking about it and it did sound really good. Disembarkation We opted not to put our cases out at 23.00 hrs the night before. Carrying them off ourselves was no hassle and meant we could have a leisurely breakfast and leave when we wanted instead of meeting at a set location at a set time. Im sure that would have worked equally well given RCIs general organisation. One side effect following disembarkation  for the first 24 hrs we suffered from a swaying motion  very weird and difficult to concentrate on anything! Summary Hopefully this review will help some other cruise newbies! More than happy to answer any questions or clarify any points. Would we cruise again with RCI? Yes! Picked up next years brocheurs today!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
First cruise - and probably last one. First the good things: the organisation (apart from embarkation at S'hampton which was how I imagine arrivals at Ellis Island were handled)was excellent (excursions, disembarkation). The crew ... Read More
First cruise - and probably last one. First the good things: the organisation (apart from embarkation at S'hampton which was how I imagine arrivals at Ellis Island were handled)was excellent (excursions, disembarkation). The crew were without exception excellent in every way - special mention to Joao and Teresa in Macbeth dining room; to Selvin the cabin steward and Salvio in Boleros bar (great band there incidentally). There is a real sense that all of them care for you and care as to how you think about them and the service they provide. A sense they are proud of their ship - Independence of the Seas. The ship (boat) is pretty smart, and biggggg. Nice design throughout and clean. Food in main dining (evenings varied from good to excellent - mostly the latter. Cabin (so-called deluxe superior something or other with balcony and sea view, was very nice - clean and comfortable as was the balcony. The not-so-nice: outrageous prices for all alcoholic drinks - a captured audience, with not competition. Time the Competition Commission and Brussels did something here - they are operating in EU waters: $40 for a bottle of Wolf Blass! or for a very soapy Pinot Grigio. First time we have ever made a bottle of wine last over two dinner evenings - maybe that's it? RCI is trying to improve our health. No, cannot be that, given the Windjammer - a 24 hours eating hell-hole which attracts the already grossly obese and those who aspire to that condition. It could be called The Piggery to good effect. What else on the negative? Lack of lifts - especially given the large numbers of disabled with mobility scooters, some of whom are not shy at giving you a whack on the heels if you are up among the Jammerites scrabbling for a crust or two. If you are of an age where you have got rid of the kids and think this will be a rewarding way of having a kids-free holiday - forget it even in term time: RCI is pretty much switching to the young families model - and I imagine children (and their parents) would really love this. But it is not for the Blue Harbour mob and they will be disappointed. Back to positives: a good way to get a taste of a number of attractions in a short period of time: Gib, Toulon, Florence, Rome, Carthagena (a gem), Cadiz and Vigo. More negative stuff: So-called superior deluxe suite with balcony or some such description. Offence under Trade Descriptions Acts of most EU countries, I imagine. It was a very nice cabin, with a decent balcony, shower etc; a suite it was not; superior I suppose to ones that were lower on the price rung. If your neighbour smokes and you are down wind - (or is it 'aft' of them) then you get free lungfuls of the stuff on the balcony - gives a new meaning to 'thar she blows'.I expect Royal Caribbean to start charging non-smokers for this freebie once they cotton-on to it. And why not if they can charge without blushing $40 for a bottle of Wolf Blass!!?? We were on Deck 9, Port, towards the back end (stern, me hearties). Great cabin steward - Selvin from Honduras. All in all, glad I tried it - but never again, and especially not with RCI. (Disclaimer: I cannot emphasise enough how good the crew were - pity RCI is so greedy). Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
As first-time cruisers we had little knowledge on the Oceana. Overall we enjoyed the holiday but would probably not repeat. I think we are too independently minded and the proximity to so many other holiday makers was not what we would ... Read More
As first-time cruisers we had little knowledge on the Oceana. Overall we enjoyed the holiday but would probably not repeat. I think we are too independently minded and the proximity to so many other holiday makers was not what we would normally choose. We do wish we had opted for an adult only cruise. Parents do not always respect other people's space, and on occasion we had teenagers charging around in groups and very young children spoiling evening events. The standard of food was high. We particularly enjoyed a meal at the Horizon grill (additional charge but worth it) The 'black tie' evenings need to be done away with - they are pointless and do not really match with the overall standard of these sort of cruises, ie with bingo and Mr and Mrs quizzes Our cabin was very clean but needed updating - new carpet, touch of paint etc. Level of housekeeping very good but could only rate entertainment as OK There was a problem with the 'card' door keys and one of ours did not work after the first two days despite being replaced. There is an automatic 'tip' charge of 3.50 per day per adult which seems steep unless you are a demanding passenger, particularly if you tend to use the help-yourself option at The Plaza restaurant Disappointed that we did not receive a customer satisfaction survey to complete. Perhaps they only give them out selectively?? It would have been nice to have commented on the holiday....one reason why we are writing this review Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We went on this 14-nights cruise on Adventure of the seas since it fit very well with our daughters school holiday and ours. Positive: - The food in the main dining room was probably the best I've experienced on any of the cruises ... Read More
We went on this 14-nights cruise on Adventure of the seas since it fit very well with our daughters school holiday and ours. Positive: - The food in the main dining room was probably the best I've experienced on any of the cruises - The service in the main dining room was impeccable and very friendly - Suite attendant was fantastic, our daughter had tears in the eyes when we left because she liked him so much. (She is 8) - Concierge lounge service was great. - All personnel where very friendly and serviceminded - Portofino restaurant food and service also really good. Improvement areas: - Ship is starting to get to the point where it needs a facelift, you see some signs of the age. - Lost a piece of luggage on the way home that was taken by another passenger since the thoroughly fastened luggage tags were ripped off.(Got it back 2 days later) - Shore excursion are a rip off. Would never use them. Sort your own. - The very weak Air-con in the gym made training harder than needed. Will never use cruise.co.uk ever again. Did not warn me that the free parking that RCCL promised would have needed to be booked 8 months ahead of the cruise. (Yes it was on page 6 of the cruise contract) but they could have mentioned it. They continued to send marketing on mobile, post and e-mail despite myself expressing a clear wish for them to stop. Had to threaten with legal action to get them to stop. They didn't respect the OBC promised at the time of the booking and started arguing about it afterwards. This costed an extra 97 in parking and quite some irritation. I can also mention that RCCL didn't help out anything despite us being frequent guest with them. Will use Cruises-n-more or smartcruiser in the future for bookings as I have done before. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean (our preferred cruise line) a number of times but this was our first time on Adventure of the Seas. Although the ship is a few years old now we still found her to be in really good shape and are aware ... Read More
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean (our preferred cruise line) a number of times but this was our first time on Adventure of the Seas. Although the ship is a few years old now we still found her to be in really good shape and are aware she is to be refitted for 2014. Staff were constantly cleaning all areas and I was especially pleased to see staff encouraging guests to use the Hand Sanitizers when entering the Dining Areas. Washy Washy then Yummy Yummy Unfortunately there are still some guests who feel they are above all that and obstinately walk on past the Sanitizers. I am happy to report that thanks to the staff this was one of our best cruises ever. I found all the staff we came in contact with to be very friendly, helpful and genuinely wanting to ensure we had a great holiday. We had booked the 8.30 seated dinner and had a table of 10. We quickly got to know each other and got on very well adding to our cruise experience. We had a great waiter team in Mark and Christopher and both had learnt all our first names by the end of the first meal. Our Head Waiter was also very attentive and if he spotted that you had not finished a course was over asking if anything was wrong or could he bring something else. In the past we felt pressured as staff were trying to push bottled water and speciality coffee but neither happened on this cruise. Our overall dining experience in the main dining room was excellent. With over 3500 guests onboard you expect the Windjammer to be busy at certain times but again this was managed very well by all the staff, who were very helpful in finding a table or carrying things for you and fetching coffee or juice. The food selection was very good at all times and I felt that RCI had listened to customer feedback as things I had mentioned in the past had all been addressed. Our Cruise Director HelloClo was excellent and very approachable. My only complaints which are about RCI, not the ship, are the price of drinks on board. While I have no objections to companies making a profit I do object to extortion but on the plus side, less alcohol = less calories. The other issue is with the price of port shuttles. Most cruise ships dock in large commercial ports some distance from the main tourist areas so shuttles are required. I see this as another way to squeeze extra revenue from guests. I would have thought that any town or city traders would want to have tourists brought into their area so they should be providing transport or at least ensuring their local bus services stop at the ship. I feel cruise lines dont push for this service as this would affect their income. I could write a lot more but hopefully this will give readers a flavour of what to expect. Highly recommend Adventure of the Seas and RCI.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Having cruised many times before, we, more or less, knew what to expect when we booked this 14 days' cruise on the Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton. Nevertheless, things turned out to be way better than expected. But ... Read More
Having cruised many times before, we, more or less, knew what to expect when we booked this 14 days' cruise on the Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton. Nevertheless, things turned out to be way better than expected. But let me start from the beginning. We always like to arrive at the port the day before we board the ship. Sometimes our luggage may not arrive at the airoport on the day that we do, and what a problem this may be when the cruise leaves on the same day. Be safe, fly the day before, the missing luggage always arrives on the second day ! Royal Caribbean has very expensive airport transfers, so we used the British Airport Transfers which for 170 pounds total (to and from the Port) offers good service is spacious limousines. We spent one night at the West Quay Premier Inn, which we highly recommend, because it is reasonably priced and is ideally located next to the Port and to the city's main street and shopping area. Boarding the ship was quick and effecient. No long lines for Diamond members :-) Eventhough we had sailed on Freedom class ships before we keep having the wow feeling every time we go onboard. What a wonderful ship the Independence is. Spotless clean and so well organized that, inspite of the thousands of people that it accomodates one never has to face long lines or bottlenecks in whatever one pleases to do. Have you ever thought of the statistics involved in cruising? How many dishes must be washed every day, how many DIFFERENT meals must be served HOT, at the same time to thousands of people? I often think that on such large cruise ships, the real destination is the ship itself. Well, maybe not so in our cruise. All the ports that we visited (Gibraltar, Marseille, Livorno, Rome, Ajaccio, Cadiz, Lisbon and Vigo) were quite interesting. The entertainment and the production shows were very good but not impressive. The cruise Director was one of the best that we have met during our cruises. The highlight of the entertainment, though, were the two Ice Skating shows, which were a definite DON'T MISS! Surprisingly, food (both in the Windjammer and in the Main Restaurant) was much above the Royal Caribbean average. Our dining room experience was enhanced by the people that we shared the table with. They were interesting, friendly and classy. We made friends that we definitely want to meet again. When we booked the cruise, we were afraid that July being a holiday season there would be many kids running around and creating problems. This was not the case, though, quite the contrary. The children were well behaved and gave a very pleasant and happy note all around the ship. The majority of the people onboard were British. Yes, this makes a difference (by the way, I am Greek). They are polite, not fussy, they dress nice on formal nights and are very pleasant to be with. At this point I need to thank publicly some people who made our cruise better than what it could have been: Captain Teo Strazicic who honoured us with his friendship and invited us to Bridge, Ms. Hitomi Makino, Loyalty Manager, who went out of her way to solve a problem that we had, Mr. Cornelis van Zijp, Executive Chef, who devoted more than an hour of his precious time guiding me through the Galleys and explaining all the Food Operation and Ms. Gabriella Murrara who co-ordinated these visits. Perfect ship, perfect weather and seas, perfect co-travellers .... yes, this was the Perfect Cruise Experience. Were there things that we did not like or bothered us? Maybe there were, there always are, but it is nice to focus on the good things, these are that make a memorable experience out of a holiday.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
As a first time cruiser I was more than a little apprehensive about being stuck on board a ship with lots of strangers and had even toyed with the notion of boarding a plane home from the next port if necessary!! How wrong was I, from the ... Read More
As a first time cruiser I was more than a little apprehensive about being stuck on board a ship with lots of strangers and had even toyed with the notion of boarding a plane home from the next port if necessary!! How wrong was I, from the moment we arrived at Southampton to be greeted by warm smiling faces at the terminal I new my well deserved holiday had begun. Embarkation was an absolute pleasure and we were made to feel as if we were the only people in the room. When we entered our room we were amazed at how spacious it was with a clean and fresh smell. Our wonderful steward Froilin introduced himself and looked after us very well our entire stay. The dining was probably the part I was dreading the most and had asked for a table for two when we made our initial booking. We were assigned to a table with a Scottish couple and their son and I am so glad we didn't get that table for two. We were often the last to leave and have many happy memories of our wonderful dinner companions, some nights we laughed until we cried. Our servers Anthony and Princess were very attentive though I felt the menu was a tad unimaginative and repetitive. The windjammer was ok and we ate there on occasions, the staff again were attentive and the girl that did the meet and greet was full of fun. We are both well travelled and had been to most of the cities before, we only got off the ship on four occasions and that was just to have a leisurely Tapas lunch or browse around the shops (did get charged 60 for extra baggage on return flight home)! We did our own thing and shared taxis with other couples to keep the price down. We didn't go to any of the shows, a bit holiday camp and not our thing but that's the beauty of this type of holiday it caters for everyone. The ship was clean with on going maintenance while on board, the promenade was overcrowded at times but we never had to wait too long to be served. On the whole staff were friendly and room service was super fast, coffee was delivered within moments and the cookies were addictive. All in all we relaxed, sunbathed most days even when it was cold, had breakfast on our balcony watching the sun rise, had drinks on the balcony watching the sun set. We met some very interesting people but mainly enjoyed being together. Thank you RCI and AOS for a wonderful relaxing holiday were we were in control. Home four days and we have booked again with RCI for next year, cant wait.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was a great cruise from the very start. We had arranged to park at Southampton Docks and this was very organised with plenty of direction. We had a short walk to the terminal, luggage trolleys were available if required, and were ... Read More
This was a great cruise from the very start. We had arranged to park at Southampton Docks and this was very organised with plenty of direction. We had a short walk to the terminal, luggage trolleys were available if required, and were booked in very smoothly and quickly. Before we knew it we were on board and greeted at the entrance with smiles and directions. as it was lunch time we went straight to the Windjammer , where they had opened an extra seating area to accommodate the fact that a lot of people were arriving at once. We were still eating when it was announced that the staterooms were ready for occupancy so on finishing our meal we made our way to out room. We had booked an outside stateroom without a balcony, the room wasn't enormous but there was plenty of room for 2 of us and it was clean and comfortable. during the cruise the cabin attendant kept us clean and tidy, she was friendly and helpful at all times. We ate all out evening meals in the restaurant where we had booked in under the "My Time" dining programme. We elected for a shared table each evening and any queues were quickly dealt with and we had the advantage of meeting some very interesting people over dinner each day. All our other meals were taken in the Windjammer. In both locations the food was always of a high standard with plenty of choice. Everything was clean and fresh and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. We took very little part in any daytime activities as we were either on shore exploring or relaxing on a sunbed, but other people we spoke to had thoroughly enjoyed the numerous activities available. The Compass arrived in our room each evening with a timetable for the following day including arrival and departure times from destinations so we always knew exactly what was going on. During the evenings it was difficult to fit in everything we wanted to do as there was so much choice, various bars with or without music of several different genres, stage show, ice show, dancing, shopping, the casino etc. There was even a cinema but we never even found that! This was a cities tour and as such the ports visited were mostly commercial ports and some way from the town centre. we found the shuttle bus quite expensive and sometimes it was possible to walk or catch a local bus or tourist open top bus in stead. We used the open top bus in several cities as we decided it was a good way to see quite a lot in a very short time. At some ports the tourist buses are at the port at other you have to go into the centre first to find them. We did feel that the information given on board was a little sketchy and it wasn't really made clear what the options were which meant we paid the $10 each for a shuttle bus in some ports when we didn't need to. This isn't a trip to get the feel of the Med as one city isn't really that different from the next and one lady on our cruise said that she had never been to the Med before and wouldn't be rushing back on the strength of this cruise, but it was what we wanted as we had holidayed in the Med quite a few times but in resorts without seeing the cities. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, the ship was clean and comfortable and all the staff friendly and helpful. However, when thinking of this type of holiday you do have to make allowances for the extras which in our case totalled a little over '1000.00 with drinks on board, shuttle buses and costs on shore. We didn't eat on shore as we had a large breakfast and topped up when we boarded again, there was food available at all times on board. All tap water, coffee and tea are freely available on board and we are not big drinkers so didn't take out the drinks package. we would definitely go again!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We travelled as a family of 4, myself , husband and two teenage sons 13 and 15. We were first time cruisers and loved our experience. Personally I have never relaxed so much on holiday before (possibly because I choose to have minimal ... Read More
We travelled as a family of 4, myself , husband and two teenage sons 13 and 15. We were first time cruisers and loved our experience. Personally I have never relaxed so much on holiday before (possibly because I choose to have minimal phone and internet use for 2 weeks). Our arrival at Southampton was stress free we were so early we had to wait for car park to be ready. After a short wait we were directed to our parking space, handed cases over and took short walk to terminal. Check-in was quick and efficient and within 10 mins we were being called to board - by 11am I was on a sunlounger enjoying the weather. We had a wander around the upper decks and visited the windjammer for a bit of lunch. My husband and I mainly ate in the MDR and always enjoyed our meals, we were on my time dining and even though we sat at a few different tables the dining staff were always polite and helpful. We had Alfonso and Walter for the majority of our meals and they were fantastic, knew exactly what we wanted to drink, helped advise on menu and attentive. We also ate a la carte at breakfast most days, preferring the relaxed atmosphere to the WJ which we only visited for breakfast on the first morning. We used room service for breakfast on 2 occasions, first time was good, trays arrived on the dot at 8.30am (requested 8.30 - 9am), unfortunately our second experience was not as good, we had ordered breakfast on the morning of Rome trip for 7-7.30am, and had to phone at 7.35am to ask if it was on it's way as e were booked on excursion at 7.55am. On reflection we should have just gone to buffet but as we were on deck 2 forward, meeting in theatre on deck 3 forward we guessed it would be easier than treking to WJ, just wish if they had too many orders to handle they would have let us know earlier. DH and I went to headliner show most evenings and really enjoyed them as well as ice show. We also enjoyed listening to some of the live music in the various bars and lounges. I loved my frozen mojitos and cocktails of the day. We rarely saw our teenagers who quickly grouped up with others on board to hang out. They did attend some of the teen activities though often saying it seemed a bit unorganised and they always seemed to push the limits of the curfew! Despite the fact there were so many teens on board the ship didn't appear overrun, but that may have been because we tended to stay towards the front of the ship on deck 11 or 12 during the day which was much quieter in volume than main pool area. Sunlounger problems - we always found a lounger even if it wasn't in a perfect position, only once was I out on deck before 10/10.30am and agree that often there were unattended towels/beds for long periods and only saw towels removed on one occasion by deck patrol. Our connecting cabins were adequate for our needs, loved the fact we had 2 bathrooms and knew boys had come back at night. Downside was we were on deck 2 forward and felt a little detatched from upper cabins and it was sometimes noisy when docking (especially on return to Southampton, docking doors for luggage were right below our cabins so I was certainly glad we had an 6.30 am departure time - no lie in that morning). Upside it was quiet at night, no noisy cruisers coming down the corridors late at night. Will we cruise again? Yes I loved the fact I could do as little or as much as I wanted and not feel pressured to join in with activities. Already looking for suitable sailings for next year. Thank to all the fantastic, friendly, helpful staff and fellow cruisers who we chatted to over meals, drinks and in theatre. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Second cruise for me and the wife but the last was thirteen years ago before our ten year old daughter, who accompanied us this time, was born. Overall, an excellent holiday. Plus Points: - Excellent embarkation and disembarkation ... Read More
Second cruise for me and the wife but the last was thirteen years ago before our ten year old daughter, who accompanied us this time, was born. Overall, an excellent holiday. Plus Points: - Excellent embarkation and disembarkation processes - Excellent cabin service - Cabin larger than expected with plenty of storage room for clothes and other stuff. - Excellent food - Excellent entertainment - Despite being at full capacity, ship rarely felt crowded and it was always possible to find a quiet corner somewhere if that's what one wanted. - Excellent Kids Club - Nice selection of ports of call. Minus Points - Some children (usually age range 12-15) not properly supervised and running around the ship. Also using the gym as a playground - thus more pieces of equipment became broken as the cruise progressed. (I suspect that P&O would get sued if a child sustained an injury because of misuse of gym equipment). And one evening, a load of them had gotten into the Toddlers area after it was shut and were mucking around there. P&O have plenty of rules posted in communual areas and in the ship's newsletters to prevent such behaviour but without enforcement, it's a bit of a waste of time. I really think that P&O should engage some sort of security personnel - could be as conspicuous or inconspicuous as deemed necessary - to address this issue as it has the potential to ruin people's holidays. However, overall, the pluses considerably outweighed the minuses and so we would recommend this ship to others. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
The travel arrangements made by MSC to transport us from home to Southampton were horrific. If we had been given the details of this we would have arranged our own transport but because we were not informed of these arrangements until a ... Read More
The travel arrangements made by MSC to transport us from home to Southampton were horrific. If we had been given the details of this we would have arranged our own transport but because we were not informed of these arrangements until a few days before departing we were unable to arrange suitable alternative transport. Perhaps you could take a leaf out of P & O's book. They supply coach or train travel options inclusive and from out area this would have taken 6 1/2 hours. As it was the actual travelling time was 13 1/2 hours with hours hanging around coach stations in between. We were horrified that the balcony in our cabin was open and not enclosed the distance between the rails was frightening. and the balcony was so narrow we had to squeeze past each other to get on. The food was a bit strange and sometimes a bit bland and the self service was pandemonium. The entertainment was a bit samey and not always entertaining with the exception of the mime artist but to watch flamenco dancing only for 45mins was too long a bit of variety was needed. We had children chasing each other up and down the deck corridors most of the day which we though was dangerous practise and could have caused an accident. The only saving grace was that we met some lovely people of all ages and made some lasting friendships. Due to a misunderstanding by the tour company and the ship time the included coach trip to the winery in Lisbon lasted 6 1/2 hours instead of 4 1/2 hours One and a bit hours of this spent on the coach at the dock waiting for people who had decided not to go, therefore we did not have time to walk through Lisbon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We chose this cruise as we went on a P&O cruise for the first time last year and decided that P&O were our favourite of all the cruises we had done. The food was very good and we loved the Buffet meals, although it was a problem ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we went on a P&O cruise for the first time last year and decided that P&O were our favourite of all the cruises we had done. The food was very good and we loved the Buffet meals, although it was a problem at breakfast trying to find a seat (walking around with hot food, going cold). We visited Atul Kochhar's restaurant (this was absolutely excellent). The Verona restaurant was also excellent. The shows were really good and we loved all the comedians and the ventriloquist. It was also good to see Clem Curtis performing onboard. We were very pleased with our cabin which had a balcony, so it was good to watch going into and out of Ports from our Cabin. Although we are not great sunbathers it was almost impossible to get sunbeds, so it was just as well we could sit on our balcony. The (Bar waiters were a nightmare). They would follow you to your seat in bars. Interrupt conversations when you already had a drink (asking if you would like another. I was up on deck the one day reading and was interrupted to ask if I would like a drink. What happened to summoning a waiter when you want a drink, which is what we have always done in the past? Again, a good job we had balcony to sit on in peace. I love P&O but did not get the restful holiday I was expecting and needed.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Southampton port was well organised and easy.  We boarded at around 11:30am.  The ship was very clean and well kept ,every member of staff you pass says hello and gives you a smile. Food was fresh and plentiful and also there was lots ... Read More
Southampton port was well organised and easy.  We boarded at around 11:30am.  The ship was very clean and well kept ,every member of staff you pass says hello and gives you a smile. Food was fresh and plentiful and also there was lots to choose from everywhere.  We loved the windjammer for all meals and visited the mdr most nights. Our cabin steward was very friendly and helpful. We managed to get a sunbed most of the time but they have cracked down on idiots saving beds for hours on end.  30 mins and if they have not returned then its yours end of story. We witnessed lots of cleaning and especially round the pool areas. There was tetley tea and English bacon which was very nice. There was plenty of entertainment around the ship.  And i agree if you haven't got a seat in one of the lounges by 8pm you are pretty much out of luck. We tended to grab a drink then sit poolside on deck 11.  If we wasn't going casino. Overall a very pleasant and enjoyable cruise the children and teens loved all the things to do and clubs.  The only time i felt crowded was on the promenade on formal night with endless queues for photos everywhere. If i had one complaint it would be the movie screen.  The same 10 songs everyday ,followed by up-to 4 hrs of golf.  The movies were repeated with soul surfer being repeated about 4 times as the afternoon movie.  The afternoon band poolside were very repetitive too. The ports were good ,shuttles provided (small fee) and you could mostly just get off and do your own thing. I would definitely cruise on this wonderful ship again. We felt safe, well looked after, and had a unforgettable time.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My Wife, 9 year daughter and I have just returned from our first cruise (2 weeks around the Western Med) and in general we all had a great time. Sailing from Southampton is very easy and stress free (from our experiences the exact ... Read More
My Wife, 9 year daughter and I have just returned from our first cruise (2 weeks around the Western Med) and in general we all had a great time. Sailing from Southampton is very easy and stress free (from our experiences the exact opposite to flying). The boarding process is quick and efficient and we were on the ship relaxing with a drink in one of the bars within an hour of arriving at the port. We were amazed at the size of the ship and the facilities (all excellent) it had on board. There were various shops, swimming pools, hot tubs, solarium, gym,secluded children's area complete with it's own pool/s, screening room, library, internet cafe (WiFi was expensive so not many people used it which was a shame),theatre, ice skating ring, crazy golf, basketball court and arcade. We were also surprised and relieved to find that the ship was very spacious meaning that you can find plenty of quiet and peaceful areas if you wanted to. There is an extensive choice of restaurants and bars (prices quite reasonable)to choose from and these cater of all tastes. The quality and variety of the food in particular was superb and we would find it very hard to pick fault with any of it. The Windjammer was our favourite place to eat as it was very informal which suited us. There is also the option to eat evening meals at one of the main restaurants which was a lot more formal which many people liked with the food again being of a very high quality. In all instances the level of service is excellent. We had an inside state room which prior to sailing has caused us some concerned. Our fears soon disappeared, it was small but had everything you needed. The bed/s were very comfy and the air conditioning worked properly meaning that we all slept soundly. The shower was also more than adequate (I am 6' 4" and 20 stone so if I can use it without a problem anybody can). Deck 10 where we were was also very quiet and peaceful (our stateroom attendant Fernando deserves a special mention as he kept it very clean and tidy. He was also very pleasant and helpful). The entertainment was generally very good and there was lots to see and do for all. In the daytime there was a full activities programme to suit all ages. At night there was a show/s in the main theatre as well as entertainment in the various lounges and bars on the ship. The port days were exciting, waking up in a new destination is something we really enjoyed. We stopped at Malaga (very nice), Cannes (nice in parts), Barcelona (fantastic), Palma (we spent the day at Palma Nova beach which is nearby and very good), Valencia (very nice), Catagena (hidden gem with a great Roman Theatre), Lisbon (very good with a fantastic suspension bridge) and Vigo (nice). We would note that we did not go on any excursions as they were very expensive. At some of the ports shuttle buses were provided at a charge (RCI apparently made no money from these as the Port Agent arranged), these were expensive ($10 or $15 dollar) for what they were and if we went again, certainly at Malaga we would either walk or get a taxi into town as it wasn't actually very far. One of the hot topics of debate for most cruises is that of gratuities. We paid ours upfront but some people choose to cancel this when on-board, paying tips as they went along (apparently). We would note that the American culture is very different to ours in the UK and a number of staff receive very little basic pay meaning that gratuities make up a lot of their wages. All in all this was a very positive experience for us and we would highly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean. We will certainly go on another one in the not so distance future and are already considering our options for next year.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I can understand why the general public rave on about Royal Caribbean Ships, we have just come back (27th July 2013) from sailing with The Independance Of The Seas and what a beautiful holiday we have had. Impressed with this most ... Read More
I can understand why the general public rave on about Royal Caribbean Ships, we have just come back (27th July 2013) from sailing with The Independance Of The Seas and what a beautiful holiday we have had. Impressed with this most beautiful Ship and facilities were second to none, ample sunbathing beds and great pools that suit everybody. Fabulous, fabulous food - the chefs work so hard to provide these wonderful dishes, a real treat. What can we say about the staff - truly wonderful, nothing is too much trouble for them, my mother has a issue medically with butter and after stating this on our first night we never had to mention again, we were taken care of ..... Here are a few names we wish to mention who we felt are a true credit to the company and they must be congratulated : * Our Chambermaid - Lovley Joanna, she looked after us twice a day and always so happy and cheerful and our room's were always clean and just perfect. * Towel attendant on the Pools Deck - Happy, Happy Citra, she always knew our names and very very cheerful. * King Lear Dining Room Booking Clerk - Szilamer ( we used to call him James Bond due to his ear piece !) what a great guy with great personality, always arranging a great table for us and again happy and cheerful every night. * Head Waiter - Lalit, what a charmer and a real star ! so organised and busy but always had time to pop over and ask if we were well and happy on our holiday. We wish him well on his career. * Our Waitress - Turkessa Lauren, she is lovley lovley girl and helped us with again, issues with medical needs with our family at meal times. Always polite and worked so hard. * Our Waiter Assitant - Gene Boswell, what a fantastic guy with the biggest smile you could ever want every evening ! looked after our table fantastically and delivering the best range of bread my daughter Emily could eat ! Meal times everybody enjoys but with these few people, we could'nt wait .... Evening entertainment was very good and Joff is so funny and again a true credit to the company. Plenty of shopping to be done and a great coffee shop with cakes !! We are hoping to rebook shortly and get back on the ship, having withdrawal symptoms already. Hope this helps you decide on your holiday! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I have sailed on quite a few different cruises so I am basing this on what other experiences I and my family have had on the different cruise lines.I have also never been on the IOTS but have been on the sister ship (Liberty) twice in the ... Read More
I have sailed on quite a few different cruises so I am basing this on what other experiences I and my family have had on the different cruise lines.I have also never been on the IOTS but have been on the sister ship (Liberty) twice in the past. Someone a few weeks ago put on a review saying Indy has lost its 'Wow' factor, and I couldnt see how and what that meant. However, I now totally agree with it and it truly has lost its wow factor. Embarkation: The easiest I have ever seen, we turned up at about 12pm and were on the ship by 12:15. We used the Platinum queue but the normal queue seemed very short too. Cabin: We went for a category X guarantee due to the price being much cheaper than picking our own inside. The room was a huge disappointment, myself and my partner have done over 100 nights combined on Royal Caribbean and they chose to give us a room at the back of the ship, down a hidden corridor, with a connecting door (meaning only half a sofa) and also lots of noise and light from the room next door. The bed was also quite uncomfortable (always falling apart) because of the quality of the foam topper. For a cruise line that prides itself on its loyalty scheme, we should of maybe had a better location room (im not even asking for a window etc, just a better location). Another thing to add was that our shower was absolutely useless, it would keep changing speed and heat and was impossible to set at one temperature. I was also dissapointed that the TV doesnt fully turn to face the bed, so its hard to see from one side. The bed was too big that you had to climb to get onto the right side as the gap was smaller than a letter box. The room service menu was ripped and the wardrobe space was quite small. Also, our TV was temperamental and only worked after pressing a button about 10 times. Finally, we were given the gold and platinum loyalty booklets but no loyalty pin, also my girlfriends booklet was just 4 A4 sheets of paper with the vouchers printed on as they had obviously run out of the real things. Public Rooms: Fairly good as standard with the Royal Carib Freedom class, the pub (dog and badger) was very very overcrowded at all times and bars like Olive Or Twist was pretty empty most of the time. The casino was okay and the piano lounge (schooner's) quite good. The library was quite spacious and all the other rooms pretty decent in size and space. Entertainment: This is where the Independence let us down. The shows were just very very poor bar one of the ice shows and a hypnotist, the others were quite boring. The piano guy in schooners was okay and the other bands were just so repetitive, somewhat monotone and very boring. The planner wasn't much better and all the deck parties/promenade parties had been condensed to about 1 night with just loud music being played. The deck party used the normal bars and one of the bands, normally they would have different drinks on sale, BBQ food on deck and cool flashing gimmicks and the cruise director getting everyone dancing. This was very different, you could see cutbacks being made right in front of your eyes. The club would shut early and most of the ship would be in bed before midnight. - the last cruise I did (liberty) had things starting late at night. The ice show ticket distribution annoyed me too, they made you get up at about 8 to go and queue on the promenade (all the way from one end to the other)to collect tickets to the shows (which only started on day 6). It just seemed a huge mess and a waste of our time. I dont know why they didnt just let people do it once they got on the ship. Food: Overall very good, we did go to the steak restaurant twice (after getting one go free) because they messed up the first time we went, we had a burnt and then frozen steak. The second time was much better and great food. We didnt try giovannis as the food seemed too similar to normal. The MDR was great and so was the buffet. I still think Royal Caribbean have some of the best meals going. We also had Johnny Rockets twice which was fun and nice too. Sorrentos pizza was one of our main places to go late and night and it was usually very good although we could never take a whole pizza to the room as they didnt have pizza boxes and one night we ended up eating an off blu-cheese dressing. Ports of Call: We had basically all the main Spanish ports + Vigo & Gibraler and Considering we could only really get as far as Western Europe in the two weeks, the ports were quite good. However, some ports we had to pay $15 for shuttles (I think 5/8) and that really annoyed me. They should be doing it at cost price if they feel they need to charge in the first place. Fitness centre / pools: The fitness centre was good, but absolutely Sahara desert-style boiling hot, it was unbearable to run and I had to have breaks doing weights. The selection was quite good though and the gym was a good size. The pools were also quite good, there were 3 big ones and these were adequate. They were all on one deck though and this meant it was always very very busy. Pathways were pretty narrow too meaning it just took ages to get across deck. Sunbeds were also quite hard to come by. Everything else: Some things were good some were bad. We liked the film channel on the TV and also the bathroom size was quite good with a decent size shower (even though it was useless). The afternoon snacks were good as well as sorrentos pizza. The promenade was more annoying than fun, as seattles coffee would fill up and overflow into the middle of the promenade (this also happened with the pub) and then the super intelligent cruise sales team would put their massive stalls out in the middle so that it left gaps either side big enough for one person at a time. This would then cause a funnel head at each end of the promenade and became very annoying. Overall I would try it again but probably not from Southampton. It seems like Royal Caribbean dont care too much for Brits and would rather cut back on stuff. Whenever I have gone from Europe or the Caribbean it has always felt so much more personal and fun, rather than mass produced. It really does seem that we were on more of a hotel and they only had a few decent shows. I used to love going to shows every night, and on Princess they are always top notch, but this time we were quite let down. I am also extremely disappointed in the loyalty program. We have been on so many Royal Caribbean cruises and will now start going on Princess again as they treat past guests so much better. Although I loved the Liberty both times and loved the Navigator a few years back, this has really left us with a bad taste and we now want to try a different liner next year (and also go from europe). It was almost as if they decided that they would make up for us not having to do any flying by cutting out good enjoyable things. Lastly, a lot of people failed to dress up and especially so on formal night and they were always allowed in the restaurant to eat! Disembarkation: Dont you just love having to checkout at 8 am!! they really ruin the holiday feel by kicking people off so early. We were out the room at 8am (that was quite late compared to others) and saw most rooms were ready for the next passengers already. Therefore, they can obviously let people off later as the next lot are not on til like 12pm. They also made you aware that you were getting off that day by smashing around below our cabin and cleaning all the corridors all day and all night!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Well the ship was certainly impressive but the spoils of luxury commensurate with Cunard Queens Grill were sadly lacking. I apologise to those below decks for sounding snobbish but we have only cruised on the top deck and paid the price ... Read More
Well the ship was certainly impressive but the spoils of luxury commensurate with Cunard Queens Grill were sadly lacking. I apologise to those below decks for sounding snobbish but we have only cruised on the top deck and paid the price for the trimmings! Royal Carribbean need to look at what they offer premium passengers which really amounted to nothing more than a fancy cabin! No complimentary free drinks and stocked mini bar, no butler just a cleaner, who was very good at cleaning. A concierge lounge with card access that was closed more than open and when it did serve drinks for 4 hours each evening IT WAS PACKED so people left.A good way to save money but a big deterrent for repeat business. The only drinks during the day available tea and coffee! Worse still on sea days the reserved section of the pool deck for GOLD was like a tin of sardines, 30 beds 30cm apart and never a free one!!! How can they accept bookings for premium passengers and expect to get away with the minimum offerings? The ship was packed with over 4000 people and totally over crowded from any aspect. You could never find a seat in any of the lounges as they were ALL occupied. Entertainment was pathetic and very third rate with nothing standing out as exceptional. Strangely the Entertainments Director Joff was brilliant himself and was the best part of the entertainment, especially his John Cleese looks and mannerisms which in my book were quite funny. He excelled at the charades evening with the Captain and crew and should actually have done better by finding more appropriate acts on board. The food in MYTIME dining was quite good and the waiters most entertaining and friendly but the seating each night seemed like a bun fight trying to get a preferred table, by the window!! Too many of the same people got the same tables EVERY night! We hated the Windjammer restaurant for lunch and breakfast as it was like a Blackpool night out with people fighting each other for food, we therefore retreated to the Chops Restaurant where we could eat with people with similar tastes, WHEN YOU COULD GET A TABLE! We felt that the cruise line was just a big money grab organisation, nothing for nothing and at every corner they hit you for a few dollars, even birthday announcements in the daily mag $25. It just did not stop, they hit you for a buck at every opportunity. I paid cash in $$$ for my extras as stipulated up front only because they hit you 3% on a ££ credit card which again is profiteering on rates. They gave me a letter in my suite every time I had surpassed $500 as they wanted to be paid....I had to pay in every week as we cruised....and this is how they treat their PREMIUM passengers!! I am sorry but if you like the good things in life and you are use to the spoils of Cunard Queens Grill and other premium voyages this ship is just another party ship reserved exclusively for the public as there are absolutely no standards on board and dress as you like even on official formal evenings. Been their done that but never again..........cruising is fun and I am sure many people on board had a ball but in our class of travel the complaints on top were on-going, RC do not have a clue when you are a paying £9000 versus an average of £3000!!!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013

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