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340 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was our second cruise having previously sailed to the Canaries on the Explorer. We booked this one for it's itinerary and the fact we would feel at home on a similar ship. Family of 4 with a teenage daughter and an 8 year old ... Read More
This was our second cruise having previously sailed to the Canaries on the Explorer. We booked this one for it's itinerary and the fact we would feel at home on a similar ship. Family of 4 with a teenage daughter and an 8 year old boy. Pro's Embarkation was trouble free, although with the park and ride system we arrived later that on the previous cruise and had to queue for about 30 minutes. Not too painful. Once on board the ship was laid out as per the Explorer and we instantly felt at home. Wandered up to the Windjammer which was very busy but as always great selection and quality of food with lots of waiters on hand to assist with drinks, clear tables etc. The food was of an excellent standard and no complaints could be made around the Sapphire dining room. Shaun and Hank were our waiters and always chirpy and efficient serving great food and amusing the kids at the same time. We had the my time dining and other than a couple of late days usually ate at 6pm. Shame about the formal evenings with people in shorts and one night a gentlemen eating dinner with a baseball cap on! (basic manners) The headline shows were quite good with a wide variety of stuff over the 2 weeks although talking to a fellow cruiser more regular than I, stated the entertainment is the same as 5 years ago! We had seen the queen tribute act on the Explorer 2 year previous. The Tenors of rock were great and brought a bit of Vegas to the ship. The ice dancers were also very good as expected. As previously stated the service is second to none (crowds apart which I will address below) with the stateroom attendant always on hand for anything we needed (more coffeeeee please) and the bar staff really did try their best in trying conditions. Dewar in the R Bar is possibly one of the most overworked but cheery people I have ever met and always greeted us with a smile and a chat. As previously stated we chose this cruise for the itinerary, so: Gibraltar - lovely place, had a quick whistle stop tour on one of the local taxis (£25 per head) and can thoroughly recommend them. Would have preferred a bit longer there. Villefranche -Beautiful just beautiful. We decide with the weather not to go on a trip and to use this location for a beach day and what a lovely day it was. Civitavecchia - Booked an RCI trip for this one getting dropped at the colosseum for about 1.5 hours, then Spanish steps and Trevi fountain for an hour or so and finally a trip to the Vatican. Didn't have time to go in the colosseum but queued (in 32 degrees) to go into the basilica and Wow! Glad we did, amazing history. Beautiful city spoiled by aggressive beggars and hawkers. Livorno - Again decided not to travel to Florence or Pisa so just had a walk around the town. It was a Saturday and the market was in full flow. The town had a nice village vibe about it but unfortunately there were still some beggars hanging around the touristy bits (McDonalds lol) Genoa- Walked into the centre, smelt of urine, drunks everywhere, hawkers constantly in your face - Never again! Honestly unless on a trip, do not get of the ship at this port. Malaga - Beautiful, clean, friendly and a welcome respite after our previous experience in Italy. Lisbon - Another beautiful European city which we would loved to have spent more time in. It has that cosmopolitan feel with outside cafes and bars with families and well dressed folk eating and drinking. Even the street performers were cheery and in no way intimidating (as per Rome and Genoa) Cons This is a biggie and the reason why we probably will try a different cruise line next time. We will definately also be taking the next one outside the school holidays and happily pay the fine. It would appear that some people think that once on the ship you just dish out the sea pass cards to your offspring and meet them (I assume at a designated area) on disembarkation day! From day one there were marauding groups of kids from 8 up to 16/17 years old running around the ship for the whole fortnight. Don't get me wrong I have two of my own and not a grumpy old man (debatable) but it does wear a bit thin waiting 5 minutes for a lift to arrive and 8 kids run out giggling and you then visit every deck of the ship. One morning on exiting our cabin, all the Do not disturb cards were strewn along the corridor with glasses knocked over and food just chucked on the floor. One night the noise of a group giggling and banging in their cabin didn't stop till about 0330 so quite irritating. The 0100 curfew seemed to be ineffective . Lots of people have stated the bar staff have been rude but I must say (listen up RCI) there are simply too many people on this ship with not enough bar staff. Remember you are catering to Brits. With all you can drink packages. What do you think is going to happen? The bar staff do their best but are overwhelmed with our British, ahem habits. All in all a great cruise but tempered by the gangs of kids and the almost impossibility of getting a seat in the evening on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We had been recommended to P&O by a friend who had previously been on Britannia and had really enjoyed it, so we thought we'd give it a try ourselves. The itinerary were all places we had never visited before, and looked ... Read More
We had been recommended to P&O by a friend who had previously been on Britannia and had really enjoyed it, so we thought we'd give it a try ourselves. The itinerary were all places we had never visited before, and looked really good. We took the bus down to Southampton, which was really useful and meant we didn't have to drive. Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent with no problems and was efficiently run. The ship's decor is a little different to the normal american decor we're used to, but in some ways it was a nice change. Having no lift in the centre of the atrium didn't bother us, and we simply worked around it. The ship was very clean and in good working order and was kept spotless. The cabin was a good size and I mention about it in more details below. We chose freedom dining as it has always worked for us and we had dinner in the meridian restaurant on deck 6. The service in the restaurant was excellent and we never had to wait for a table. After the first night, we sat in the same place night after night and the two waiters in that section were very friendly and accommodating to our slightly requirements to say the least. It never felt rushed and we enjoyed the experience. The was always a queue though after we exited the restaurant after about 7:30pm, so we always had dinner earlier, which suited us fine. We did have a slight gripe about the horizon buffet food though. There wasn't a massive selection and some of the service was a bit hit and miss. Ice cream we found wasn't free, like it is on other cruise lines, which was a bit disappointing, especially after a day in port. The was a range of activities such as dancing, port talks, iPad classes, etc which was nice. A guest speaker called Gloria Barnett did numerous talks about the sea and the various types of life living there as well as human impacts etc. It was fascinating and very interesting. There was something to do for us all. The Headliners shows were very good, although in our opinion there was too many comedians and not enough variety of other types of acts. Shame really, otherwise we enjoyed them and watched all the shows offered. Ports now. Lisbon We did it ourselves and simply walked into town. Took about 20 minutes walk. Interesting city to walk around the streets and we also took a tram ride to Belem which has some nice sights too. Cadiz (Seville) We took the "Sights to Seville" P&O tour to Seville that was definitely worth it. Even though we didn't have too longer time there we really enjoyed ourselves and saw many of the important attractions Seville has to offer. The tour guide was really knowledgeable and we learned a lot about the region and its history. Marseille We decided to simply stay in Marseille instead of going elsewhere. We got the shuttle bus into town and the got the little tourist train N1 to the Notre Dame Church on the top of the hill, which is worth a visit. Lovely views. Interesting little tour with commentary. After that we simply walked around the waterfront and shopping areas. Nice place to have a walk around. Monaco A great place to visit especially with the motor racing that is held there. We tendered just out of Monaco and had a leisurely walk around and visited all the main sights. We even managed the trek up to the palace, even in hot temperatures. In the evening there were having a firework display an it was Austria's time to give their firework display in the competition. Very nice to watch. La Spezia We took the train to the Cinque Terre ports which was very easy and we enjoyed visiting 4 out of the 5 villages. We tried to visit Corniglia, but there was too many people wanting to get on the very tiny bus at one time, so we gave up and moved to the next village. They were all worth visiting and were all very different. Cagliari A real disappointment to be honest. P&O had shortened our time there from 8 hours to 5 hours due to a operational problem or something. Anyway we were going to visit Nora, but did not have enough to visit it to our hearts content so we stayed in Cagliari itself. The city itself was very quiet on a Monday and there was tons of graffiti and most things were closed. It seemed most of the passengers did the same thing as us and were back on the ship after about 2 hours. Not worth a visit otherwise. Gibraltar A lovely place to visit. We got the shuttle into town. Very useful. There is not many attractions so to speak but we went on the cable car, even me who's scared of heights tried it, simply to visit the rock itself. It was worth it. We went and saw the Barbary macaques. There are cheeky so and so's. One nicked my hat by jumping onto my shoulders and didn't seem to want to give it back until it got food from the taxi drivers. Great view though up there. Had wander around the town and had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I was on this cruise soley because it was my daughters choice of the ultimate holiday following the hard graft of GCSEs. Cruising never been an ambition for me and in truth I was there under sufferance! I read a lot of reviews before I ... Read More
I was on this cruise soley because it was my daughters choice of the ultimate holiday following the hard graft of GCSEs. Cruising never been an ambition for me and in truth I was there under sufferance! I read a lot of reviews before I travelled and these only made me more sure I was going to dislike the experience. I would say I am fussy, I like good service, I detest rude people and don't like crowded places!! --Yes I know a possible recipe for disaster!! I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I thought the staff were just fabulous --sometimes in the face of extreme rudeness from passengers, They were friendly polite and professional --our waiters in the main dining room, our cabin stewardess and the bar staff--particularly Sherene in the promenade deck bar are to be commended particularly. Our cabin was very comfortable 6558 --a balcony cabin --plenty of room for my very excessive luggage a lovely balcony and peaceful and quiet in the main. There was one occasion when a family in the next cabin were having a full scale screaming match complete with throwing things at the closed patio windows when I was concerned but a quick phone call to guest services stopped this within 10 minutes.My daughter had 6559 which was a promenade deck view inside cabin which was also good --but smaller than ours All the things written about terrible food, tired badly decorated ship, poorly maintained were just not true, the food was excellent -- there were plenty of options if you didn't want formal dining. The wind Jammer was a buffet restaurant with amazing views and on 2 occasions a dolphin show !! I am not a fan of buffet restaurants so we didn't go in there very much, but I have to say everything was fresh, hot and lots of choice. I loved the 3 formal evenings and made the most of getting really dressed up. Royal Caribbean are out to sell as much as possible but you didn't have to buy anything!!! We took the opportunity to dine in Chops Grill and Giovannis Table and had amazing steak and a lovely evening on both occasions and were very spoiled by the waiting staff but you didn't need to do that we just liked the 'occasionness' of it --the food in the main dining area is also beautifully cooked and well presented. I could nitpick and my main complaint would be the extortionate price of the basic internet package -- I would not have bothered with this if there was an app as I believe some cruise lines have, with an intranet so families can communicate on board, my daughter was disappointed by the 1 am curfew as she has been with carnival and nothing like that existed with that cruise line although I didn't think it was a particularly bad thing!!! The other issues were the crowding of the adult only pool area though I expected that on sea days. And my one big issue which happened on embarkation was that the permission letter we had painstakingly completed as per Royal Caribbean e-mailed advice was rejected and my daughters 16 year old friend was left upset and we were all traumatised as they refused permission for us to get on board!!! We then had to spend well over an hour trying to contact the young ladies parents who were on holiday abroad so he could send a photograph of his passport to verify his signature!! It wasn't enough that it had been witnessed formally by the director of Children's' Services for our home town !! All this despite us following Royal Caribbeans advice to the latter. We only made the sailing by about 30 mins to spare and other families were still stranded on dockside at this point. This needs addressing we did as they asked but it was not enough at the port --VERY INNEFFICIENT!!! And made for a very poor start to our holiday. I would definitely recommend the premium drinks package, I like a cocktail or 3 and port with my cheese and brandy sometimes after dinner. Having the drinks package made me very relaxed about on board spending and well worth it for us. I cant tell you anything about the shore excursions as we did our own. I really enjoyed most of the Ports we visited but again I did feel RCB over charged for shuttles etc I would have given a five but for the embarkation debacle as I said they work very hard to make sure we enjoyed ourselves and although I am still not a convert as everyone said I would be -as in becoming addicted and only ever wanting to cruise as a holiday. I will almost certainly in the next 2 yrs be booking again !! One last word of information the Evesway coach was very hassle free and well run --really good for anyone older especially or not wanting to face a long drive home and I would definitely recommend this firm Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This is our 1st cruise & don't have another one to compare to. We have always been on package holidays or been to Florida in a villa. We found the holiday very enjoyable, the food in the dining room was excellent & the ... Read More
This is our 1st cruise & don't have another one to compare to. We have always been on package holidays or been to Florida in a villa. We found the holiday very enjoyable, the food in the dining room was excellent & the waiter staff exceptional. We usually attended the 1st show after our evening meal & there was a variety of shows on offer, and we always enjoyed them. We always found the bars very busy at night, and quite often went back to our room earlier than we would have liked as there were no free seats available for us. We did have the deluxe drinks package & are not big drinkers but found it to be worth having as we could have a drink anytime we wanted. I do love a cocktail but often found them to be quite sweet in taste. Most of the staff were very friendly & polite but some of the bar staff were run off their feet at times & came across as being slightly rude. We did not book any shore excursions as we found it too expensive for us especially having to pay for the 4 of us, so just did our own thing instead. Our teenagers did enjoy their holiday, we did have to buy the wifi package to keep them amused at times. They used the gym & the flow rider & the arcade sometimes too. We may go on another cruise again, but without the 'kids' Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We booked a Princess Grill suite last year. We were joining the ship at Barcelona. At the last minute we saw one cabin with restricted view advertised and decided to sail from Southampton. We switched to our suite in Barcelona. The ... Read More
We booked a Princess Grill suite last year. We were joining the ship at Barcelona. At the last minute we saw one cabin with restricted view advertised and decided to sail from Southampton. We switched to our suite in Barcelona. The six day voyage in our modest cabin was fine. The cabin was surprisingly roomy with plenty of wardrobe space, and a settee. The Britannia restaurant is vast, and the menus read really well but although we thought our main courses were pretty good, the starters were miniscule - a small blob on the plate. The wine waiters are definitely overstretched, and you could wait until halfway through the meal to get your wine. Cunard needs to employ more of them - they're cutting corners. The weather was excellent and the aft sunbathing deck was spacious. But the sunbeds are in the sun and settees and armchairs are in the shade, so you have to take your choice early on. The shaded furniture became very uncomfortable after a while - an all day session is not recommended. The ship looked immaculate after its month refit in dry dock. Everywhere is maintained to a high standard, but as another critic mentioned, shutting the pool area to revarnish woodwork when the ship has only been at sea for a fortnight seemed surprising. We switched to our grill suite at Barcelona, and suddenly you are living in a different world. The two top decks are reserved for Princess and Queen's grill clients, and the comfort of having sunbeds under shades was wonderful. The only trouble was that on sea days, everyone wanted to be in the shade and there wasn't enough room for everyone. The food is definitely better in the Grills. It was our third time in the Princess Grill, and we thought the quality and variety had greatly improved since we were last on the ship two years ago. The a la carte menu actually changed during our ten days on board. Before, the menu seemed to be identical year in year out. Surprisingly, though, we never saw lobster or Beef Wellington on the menu. Portions were definitely larger than in the Britannia Restaurant. On to value for money. No - Cunard is a money-making machine. 15% service charge on drinks took the prices up enormously. A $35 bottle of wine became $40. We reckoned that our onboard spend had risen an astonishing 50% since we cruised 2 years ago. We opted out of automatic tipping and reckon that we tipped individuals $410 dollars during our sixteen days. We seriously believe that passengers should not be subsidising crew on ships. Cunard should pay a living wage to their staff with the huge revenues they make. The excursions are overpriced. Our 3 hour Malta tour was disappointing and rushed towards the end and cost us $60 each. Cunard had the cheek to charge $6 per person each way on the bus shuttle at Barcelona, and there were queues of 150 people waiting an hour to return to the ship as the service was reduced to 1 bus. We demanded and received a refund. The cost of the shuttle launch at Venice was $24 per person per day. It was a 10 minute walk away from the ship in searing heat. There were no handrails on the launch gangplank . Then we had to fork out €30 in fares for a return vaporetto to the Rialto Bridge. Venice certainly knows how to charge its visitors. The disembarkation at Venice was delayed due to "congestion at the airport". We arrived with an hour and a half to spare and it took all that time to go through the most chaotic check-in, security control and finally absolute mayhem through passport electronic gates with queues stretching through the whole of the airside building. People on various flights were panicking as the last call times came and went. The airport cannot deal with the passenger volume. The Venice experience has made us think carefully about booking another fly cruise. We are in our seventies and a relaxed experience became a nightmare. You never know whether shuttle buses are nearby or whether they take you right into a city, and sometimes Cunard charges you and sometimes they don't. There's no uniformity, and Cunard has the upper hand all the time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We booked prior to the brexit vote,and got an interior cabin on deck 6,for £2600,which included the now defuned SELECT DRINKS PACKAGE...ie POP,WINE and BEER. We are beach people through and through,but fancied a change,and when this ... Read More
We booked prior to the brexit vote,and got an interior cabin on deck 6,for £2600,which included the now defuned SELECT DRINKS PACKAGE...ie POP,WINE and BEER. We are beach people through and through,but fancied a change,and when this schedule came up,it was a no brainer. My wife is partially disabled,so ship life was perfect for her,and sailing from southampton was great,as we could take what we wanted,as no weight restrictions... Staff were 95% excellent,and WE thought that ROYAL CARRIBEAN delivered their brochure promises really well.... Ice shows,esp FREEZE FRAME a must,as was GREASE. Food was brilliant,wether it be Windjammer or MDR we were happy....I found the chicken curries in Windjammer to be superb,I gorged myself,they were so good...and a few hot ones thrown in..... All in all a very different holiday...same room,but different country/city....wierd yet wonderful. Will cruise again,and with RC,as a good mix of fun/ black tie/friendly people...... but were really lucky with the weather(+5 c above seasonal average)......so give a 4/5....as would have been different if poor conditions.....bon voyage Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Although we have cruised approximately 10 times before, this was our first with P&O. My comments: - The staff were friendly and helpful. - There were plenty of sun-loungers. - The breakfast buffet was fairly efficient with ... Read More
Although we have cruised approximately 10 times before, this was our first with P&O. My comments: - The staff were friendly and helpful. - There were plenty of sun-loungers. - The breakfast buffet was fairly efficient with plenty of seating. Likewise the lunch-time buffet. We did not try the evening buffet as we favoured the dining rooms. The meals there were varied and of a high standard. - There was plenty to do (or not do if you chose) on the sea days. - The evening entertainment was quite reasonable with a few different guest stars. - The guest speaker was very information and interesting. - The hairdryer was reasonably powerful. - Timings on leaving the ports were somewhat vague. We are used to booking a cruise and knowing what time (probably) a ship is going to leave and arrive at ports but even on arriving on the ship at Southampton, staff didn’t seem to know what time it was due to leave. - One other minor niggle that they seemed to run out of things for instance before we had even left Southampton, one bar took our order but then returned 10-15 minutes later to say they didn’t have what was on the drinks menu and another 10-15 minutes to return our cruise card. One of the bars ran out of one of our favourite beers in the first week and then our second favourite in the second week. They had run out of Earl Grey on the penultimate day and mint tea on the last day (or at least they weren’t putting any out in the buffet restaurant). - We would book with P&O again as we enjoyed our cruise overall but P&O wouldn’t be the only cruise company we would consider. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Our first impressions were positive but the food in the dining room was a big disappointment. Embarkation went smoothly and the cabin was spacious and had a good sized balcony. The balcony was overlooked from above but gained better ... Read More
Our first impressions were positive but the food in the dining room was a big disappointment. Embarkation went smoothly and the cabin was spacious and had a good sized balcony. The balcony was overlooked from above but gained better exposure to the sun. The entertainment overall was good. The theatre had good acoustics, a great live band and a very talented cast for the shows. The guest artists were also generally good. Elswhere, the other entertainment was a mix of good and bad with the live music being interspersed with way too much karaoke and quiz shows. More live music and less “Butlins” would have been better. The sea days in cool weather put a strain on the internal space, as with many cruises but otherwise, the loungers on deck were well spaced with a good selections of tables to eat at on deck 15 once it warmed up. Getting around the ship was easy with very little wait for lifts, unlike our experience on some other ships. On the down side, the food and dining were big disappointments. We ate in the “free” dining rooms and as long as we were prepared to share a table, we never had a wait. If you wanted to dine on your own, be prepared to wait for up to an hour. Reserving a table did not seem to be possible before 7.15 p.m. The evening meal was 3 courses with a limited choice. Chilled soup was served in a glass with a straw. The mains were quite small and did not always reflect the description. Sea bass was a square chunk of white fish. Cottage pie was a dish with the pie and nothing else - no vegetables. Potatoes were undercooked on several occasions. Deserts were also disappointing. Coffee was the same disgusting liquid served in Horizon. Apparently, the menus are determined at a corporate headquarters level and by appearances, done to a tight budget. Best compared to a buy one get one pub meal in most cases. The beef was generally good but was the exception. Up in the cafeterior style Horizon, the food was of a higher quality than the dining rooms and was generally very good with a choice between traditional English and something a little different. A good choice of accompaniments and deserts meant that it could have been good. The problem was that it was always difficult to find somewhere to sit. If you both chose your food and then looked for somewhere to sit, you could walk around until it had got cold. By choosing a table and then one waiting at it while the other got their food often meant that you were dining alone! Plastic plates and plastic mugs were the order of the day and no trays meant several trips back for food. You were served drinks at the table. The coffee and tea must be mentioned as they were awful. Coffee was apparently made from a syrup and dispensed into the plastic mug from a beer style pump and stirred with a wooden stick. The tea suffered by being made with hot but not boiling water. We were told only 3 days before the cruise that we were not allowed to use a kettle in the cabin so any chance of a decent hot drink went out of the window! This is contrary to the information from previous cruisers so the rules on this must have been changed. The 24 hour cafe in the Atrium was great. The coffee card for $29 was worth buying as the coffee was good and gave access to brewed coffee as well as the speciality coffees. Hot and cold snacks and cakes were always good there BUT there was very limited seating so you must be prepared to take it elsewhere. Alcoholic drinks were VERY expensive. Wine started at $29 a bottle, beer from $6.25 and cocktails up to $10. WARNING - always ask for a receipt. We were overcharged for drinks and it is very difficult to check afterwards when you just get a total on your account which includes the 15% gratuity. After 2 suspicious amounts, we ordered identical drinks and a receipt and it was $2 less! We felt that to NOT give receipts was very bad and with gratuities being dependent upon bar takings gave the staff an incentive to charge for the most expensive drinks on the menu. I made a written complaint about this and await a response. Excursions were VERY expensive. We did a lot of research prior to the cruise and booked our with cruisingexcursions.com as there were generally half the price charged by Princess. One Princess coach trip to Rome was over $300! If you book your own excursions, you will also usually need to pay for the shuttle bus to get you to where the excursions start. These ranged from $4 to $14 return each. We had no problems with the private excursions other than some waiting around prior to the trip as we made sure that we left the ship in good time to ensure that we did not miss our tour. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Having lived in Asia/America for a long time we took the opportunity to explore part of the Med in order to scope out where we would consider returning in the future for a longer stay. The itinerary was varied and interesting with ... Read More
Having lived in Asia/America for a long time we took the opportunity to explore part of the Med in order to scope out where we would consider returning in the future for a longer stay. The itinerary was varied and interesting with plenty of sightseeing opportunities available. Shopping seemed to be a big criteria at each port! Not being big shoppers I cant comment on the shopping malls or prices available. The only disappointing port was Livorno. I would recommend you take an excursion if you wish to leave the ship at this port as the taxis were non existent and the shuttle buses were in short supply which meant queuing in the heat on the dockside for a long time just to go a couple of miles into town. All other ports were well organised and for most of them you can walk into town from the ship. There seemed to be plenty of sightseeing/shopping excursions available but not many adventure based activities - unfortunately the kayak trip we booked was cancelled due to large waves, The cabin was a good size and clean - the beds were so comfy. Dining was lovely too with plenty of variety - at the beginning some of the food in the dining room was a little overcooked but improved with feedback. The breakfast/lunch selections were varied and interesting although food in the Windjammer at lunchtime was not brilliant on the days most people went ashore, probably because the turnover was less and the food remained on the heaters a little too long. Overall though, there was more than enough choice to try something else better. Entertainment was varied and generally very good but sometimes its a matter of taste. The ice show was the best!!! Plenty of activities going on during the cruise including many types of quizzes. The climbing wall was a challenge, the ice rink a bit small but a great alternative to going to the gym!! The mini golf was a good standard and the Wave Rider would have been a blast if the water wasn't so freezing cold this time of year! This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and comparing it to our other cruises there are pros and cons for them both depending on the type of cruise you are looking for. Overall I enjoyed this cruise and nothing on the ship spoiled my holiday so I would consider Royal Caribbean again but I don't think Ill be sailing from Southampton again - it was just too cold for the first 2 days - I will fly and cruise the Caribbean next time. ;-) Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Just returned from yet another enjoyable 14 day cruise on The Navigator. I did find on this trip however that a few corners are beginning to be cut. The boarding of the ship was probably the quickest ever and our cabin just as we ... Read More
Just returned from yet another enjoyable 14 day cruise on The Navigator. I did find on this trip however that a few corners are beginning to be cut. The boarding of the ship was probably the quickest ever and our cabin just as we expected. The food was of a good standard in both the main dining room and the windjammer. I felt the entertainment was not always up to RC standards but what was good was excellent, Probably the highlight of this was the ice show which has never failed to amaze me so good we saw it twice. Incredible. There seemed to be a lack of music and fun around the pool decks and the sail away parties were very low key. No. Late night shows ie comedians, game shows ect ! Shore excursions remain very expensive at does the internet connection. I would think in todays world this should be made far more accessible for all. On the whole it was still a most enjoyable holiday I just hope RC take note of all the competition that is now our there and don't let their standards slip to much more. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Embarkation went very well. Before we opened the boot there were two porters waiting to remove our cases. Disembarkation also went well. We chose to take our own cases as we didn't fancy sorting our cases from three and a half ... Read More
Embarkation went very well. Before we opened the boot there were two porters waiting to remove our cases. Disembarkation also went well. We chose to take our own cases as we didn't fancy sorting our cases from three and a half thousand. As it happens we passed all those suitcases which were very well organised. The ship was always very clean and our cabin attendant, Moose, was so pleasant and helpful. We had a balcony cabin which was a good size with plenty of storage. We found the bed comfortable. There were always plenty of hand sanitizers at every food establishment. We chose My Time Dining and loved it. The food was varied, very good quality, and well cooked. Our two waiters, Susan and Oliver, were marvellous. They were very friendly without being obtrusive, quick to serve the food and clear away without rushing us and very professional. The windjammer was pleasant with a good variety of food. If you went fairly early it was a very pleasant experience but at peak times it turned into an overcrowded canteen. We went to Izamu for one meal which was a very good. The waiter was very helpful with advice on the menu. We didn't visit any of the other restaraunts as the main dining room was exceptional. Every member of staff, all over the ship, always seemed happy and were helpful. A definite strong point for the ship. The downside of the ship is the lack of space to sunbathe. Most of the sun beds are so close together that you have to climb up the bed from the bottom. However, all the advertising for the ship does show this to be the case so no surprise. On cold and windy days it is a struggle to find seats at indoor venues such as any of the bars or the cafeteria on the promenade. The evening shows were somewhat mixed. There were some very mediocre ones but also some really good ones. There were two different comedians and the Queen tribute band that were amazing. As everyone says the ice show was brilliant. The daytime interest topics were few and far between. We were looking forward to finding out about the ports of call but it turned into a sales pitch to sell the ships excursions. We had already booked these before so it was totally boring. This was the only sales pitch that I felt cornered. The wifi was wickedly expensive and not very good. There were people trying to promote the restaraunts that you had to pay extra for but they were not pushy We chose this trip for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We booked the first three trips with Royal Carribean. GIBRALTAR We booked the mini bus sightseeing tour. The driver was brilliant and showed us so many different things. The traffic was very busy so the end of the tour was a bit rushed. FLORENCE The guide was good and informative and pitched just right. ROME The assistant guide that stayed with us until free time was very good and informative. We were joined in Vatican City by an expert guide who had an indepth knowledge on the history of Rome. We found some of this knowledge good but mostly she spent far too much time on on too much detail. We were stood outside the Colluseum listening for 45 minutes before our free time. Unfortunately if she had kept her talk to 15 minutes we would have had time to go inside the Colluseum and experience the history for ourselves. CORSICA We just enjoyed soaking up the sun and beautiful scenery. BARCELONA We were tempted to take the open top hop on and off bus tour but it was very expensive so decided we would start off by walking before buying the tickets. We were able to get to the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the Gothic area with ease. We had plenty of time to just soak up the sun and scenery. MALAGA AND CADIZ Both cities were beautiful. As with Corsica and Barcelona we just relaxed and enjoyed them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I treated my wife (and myself) to a 14 day cruise for her birthday this year and chose this cruise because it sailed out of Southampton and therefore could take decent sized cases on-board as this was a no-fly holiday and you need lots of ... Read More
I treated my wife (and myself) to a 14 day cruise for her birthday this year and chose this cruise because it sailed out of Southampton and therefore could take decent sized cases on-board as this was a no-fly holiday and you need lots of clothes for the various themed nights. Got down to Southampton the day before sailing (as I have done a few times now) and the weather was really great and the city was clean and tidy as usual with plenty shops to buy those last minute summer things. Took a taxi to the docks which costs around £5-£10 which drops you off outside departures. I don't think you can walk to the terminal and for that price who would with cases. As a crown and anchor member I was able to jump the queue so was aboard the ship less than 30 minutes from getting in the taxi at the hotel. It was my first time on this ship although I have been on Freedom and Vision ones. The ship was in very good condition for its age - better than the Indy was when I was on it last October. There were also some new shows on the ship including a new ice show which was excellent. There was always something going on somewhere if you traveled around the ship and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. The staff in the various bars were kind and polite and the entertainments staff (especially Dominic in the Scooner bar) were very good at their jobs. The Cruise Director was good on stage, but sadly I did not see him at all around the ship like I have done many times with Clo O'Conner and Bill Brunkhorst. The food in the windjammer was the same as any other windjammer and it was very busy in there most of the time. I was on My Time dinning in the MDR and had the same waiters each night who were very good - although I had paid my gratuities up front so they should be! One good thing about this ship was that you could use your Diamond vouchers in the MDR (during DL hours) instead of ordering or bringing your drink with you. Not sure if this is a new RCI policy or just on this ship - I am on the Rhapsody next month so I will find out! Did my own thing at the ports of call except for Livorno were I took their trip to Florence. I was out from noon to nearly midnight and done in by the end of it. It was a brilliant trip and my wife loved it but we just wish the ship had docked earlier so we could have got back to enjoy the shows and have a drink etc. Another thing to mention is that this ship was very calm and stable during the whole cruise and I never felt a thing the whole time - even in the Bay of Biscay. During this cruise we went to Gibraltar, Livorno (for Florence/Pisa), Civitavecchia for Rome (1 hour on the train for less than £10 euro), Corsica, Barcelona, Valencia (well just outside), Malaga and Cadiz. I have been to most of these places before, and will do again as this is the perfect way to see all of these places. I had an inside cabin just below the Scooner bar which was handy as I did not have far to crawl last thing at night. Cabin was clean and tidy and the room attendant soon got used to our coming and going habits. Managed to climb the Rock wall (not bad for my age) but didn't bother with the flow rider (lasted 2 seconds on the Indy back in 2008 so never again). There was a nice big whirlpool inside the Gym which I have not seen on any of the other RCI ships I have been on. Had a game of golf each day - even in the Bay of Biscay which was a bit windy - but fun! There were only a handful of kids on this cruise and they were well behaved and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves which is a nice thing to witness on holiday. I must say that this has been one of my favourite cruises in recent years - just a shame the Cruise Director didn't get more involved with passengers during the daytime. I believe the Navigator is doing the Med and Canneries next year so I may book it again! Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this Cruise as a continuation of the Positioning Cruise of 2016 of this Ship. We had not cruised the Mediterranean prior to this and felt we would be able to see more of the area by Cruise than by Train. We were very ... Read More
We chose this Cruise as a continuation of the Positioning Cruise of 2016 of this Ship. We had not cruised the Mediterranean prior to this and felt we would be able to see more of the area by Cruise than by Train. We were very disappointed when there was not enough Port time in Cadiz to travel to Seville. When we calculated, we feel there would have been time in the Itinerary to have accomplished this. RCCL has added Specialty Dining Restaurants to their Ships when really enhance the experience. You are not required to go to a Buffet or the Dining Room for your meals; you have some excellent alternative choices as reasonable prices. RCCL has gone to a pretty aggressive sales and marketing system for on-board shopping which I felt was excessive. While I will continue to travel with RCCL, new Cruisers may feel as though they are not truly getting an 'all inclusive' vacation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
...the level of entertainment in the theatre. Not a major issue but annoying to be offered third class acrobats, jugglers and so-called comedians. Cunard should try to understand that a Butlin's type inter-active panto style ... Read More
...the level of entertainment in the theatre. Not a major issue but annoying to be offered third class acrobats, jugglers and so-called comedians. Cunard should try to understand that a Butlin's type inter-active panto style offering is cringe making. Apart from this the suite was lovely, the service immaculate and the Queen's Grill food was excellent. Embarkation was rapid though disembarkation was somewhat but understandably rushed. Cunard has now thankfully learned to make picture taking more low key and less hard sell. The ports were OK: Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga, Tangier and La Coruna. Unfortunately the weather was poor but this was hardly Cunard's fault. If weather matters perhaps better to stick with the Canaries in winter. As ever the excursions on offer were over-priced and rather disappointing. The ship was beautifully dressed for Christmas. It is a stunning ship. Those lectures and activities that were provided were adequate but there should have been more for those who think rather than those who do. Martin Bell was good but let down by poor technical assistance and this applied to all talks. I would certainly cruise again on the Victoria. Enjoyed it greatly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise ... Read More
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise as all 5 of us enjoyed it and would love to cruise using P&O again. Embankment was no problem, bags were taken from us as soon as we arrived and we were in our rooms in less than an hour. The balcony rooms are lovely and clean and the views are fantastic. Balcony furniture is ideal. I noticed the balcony fronts were always kept clean so views were not compromised. The food was amazing and we used Freedom Dining as our option due there being five of us. We used all available restaurants within the Freedom Dining arrangement and we were never disappointed with the quality, service or menus. You are able to visit three other restaurants on the ship but they incur a service charge but we were very happy with the food experience without adding further expense. I enjoyed the entertainment however the men in our party were not so keen. The dancers and singers gave thier all. The arena was a full house every night and the comedians had us laughing. I would have liked more educational talks in the day but 3000 people are a lot to please. Ports were lovely to visit and enjoyed them all. P&O have shuttle busses laid on which are great. We had rain on some days so a bit of a damper but that had nothing to do with P&O. Staff were so professional and we felt truly pampered. We all enjoyed the cruise and would love to do it all again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
As a first time single traveller and first time with P&O I was understandably nervous about this cruise. First impressions were I disliked Britannia, however as the days went by I got to like the intamacy of the ship, so many places to ... Read More
As a first time single traveller and first time with P&O I was understandably nervous about this cruise. First impressions were I disliked Britannia, however as the days went by I got to like the intamacy of the ship, so many places to go and never crowded, even on sea days. Food was dull and repetitive and too British, waould have loved to be served regional food from the counties visited. Sailaway parties were awful and best avoided, Rule Britannia and Gos Save the Queen just made me cringe! Cabin F331 great, well appointed and suited my need nicely. All the staff were amazing, can't praise them enough. Specially restaurants amazing, and the Limelight Club amazing, Madeline Bell and Jackie Graham were awesome. Loved the Live Lounge, The ship Group Pulse were great and made me want to dance! Overall a great holiday, but a warning to single men, keep your status to yourself or you may receive far more attention from the single ladies than you bargained for! As for being too British I was disappointed not to meet people from other countries, the Brits can be a bit insular and extremely negative, far to many unjustified moans were heard! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was my 11th. cruise and my third (in a row) on P&O. I always said I wouldn't travel on the really big ships, but Britannia has single cabins and this particular cruise fitted with my holiday time from work-and this trip ... Read More
This was my 11th. cruise and my third (in a row) on P&O. I always said I wouldn't travel on the really big ships, but Britannia has single cabins and this particular cruise fitted with my holiday time from work-and this trip almost halved the cost from my 2015 cruise because of the single person cabin costs. I will split this review into sections as I have done before, starting with.... Demographics. We sailed from Southampton and the passengers were almost exclusively British. There were a large contingent of Scots and, apart from the crew, I only heard three foreign accents. There was a German speaking Swiss couple and an eastern European guy-possibly Polish/Latvian/Estonian, otherwise the ship was full of Brits. There was a wide range of ages with young families up to senior citizens. I'll will come back to this in another section. Embarkation/Disembakation. I drove down to Southampton as I opted for free car parking as opposed to onboard credit. P&O use Cruise & Passenger Services (CPS) for the car parking. CPS are very good and my car was taken to a secure compound on my arrival at Southampton Docks. I was directed into a large hall to be checked in. I was told that I was almost an hour late as I should have been there at 1230 and not 1330. I showed my letter stating my time was 1330 but I was told that another letter was sent out to my address advising me of the earlier time. I never received this second letter. I was "fast tracked" through bookings and I was on the ship in under 15 minutes. Disembarktion was just as quick. I opted for "walk off". That is anyone who could carry their own luggage could leave the ship between 0700 and 0800. I was on the road home by 0800. Other cruise companies should take a leaf out of P&O's methods-everything was very smooth with no problems. Brilliant! Ships crew. The male crew-that is the waiting staff/bar staff/cabin stewards-were almost all Indian with a few female Filipino staff. The officers were of several nationalities but the language spoken was English. All of the crew were extremely friendly and very helpful. They couldn't do enough for the passengers. My cabin steward-Lloyd-was very good and very efficient. The ship itself/Cabins. Britannia is a new ship-it was launched in 2015. The fixtures/fittings were comparable to other cruise ships I have travelled on-not my taste, but not too garish. I had a single cabin (with a considerable saving on my last cruise). This was an inside. The cabin wasn't too small but not too big. After all, you're only sleeping there anyway. The bed was of generous proportions-far bigger than a "normal" single bed. plenty of storage and wardrobe space with a loo, shower and basin with a large mirror. Not bad for a single cabin! Food/drink. I opted for set time dining in the Oriental Restaurant. I was on a table of six-all single travellers. Myself, Pete, Sonia, Annette, Anne and Jeremy. We all got on very well. The food in the restaurant was top notch. The meals every night were exceptional-although I asked for an extra gravy boat every night as I like my meals to be swimming in gravy. Our waiters brought me extra gravy every night. The Horizon Buffet was-again-exceptional. Mornings were the usual "Full English" breakfast-sausages, bacon, eggs cooked various ways, black pudding, baked beans, tomatoes etc...Also there was a large selection of cereals, fruit, muffins (for breakfast?), Danish, cheeses, breads. I could list them all but it would take a while. Lunch and evening meals were all varied and the passengers were almost spoilt for choice. I won't even try to list what was on offer but it was all fantastic. As too the drinks on board. This is one subject I get very annoyed about. P&O claim to be charging "pub prices". Not where I drink they aren't. The draught beers included Carling/Peroni/John Smiths/Old Speckled Hen/Guiness/Stella and others. You also have the choice of premium bottled beers, spirits, Champagne, red/white wines, cocktails etc. The draught beers-served in Imperial (British) pints-were charged at just under £4 a pint. In my regular pub, I'm paying £2.95 for a pint. I spoke to several London travellers and they said the same thing. P&O need to reduce the beer prices to a more reasonable amount. I opted to drink San Miguel (bottled) but again these were charged at £4 a bottle. Far too much. Excursions. I did a vineyard in Mallorca, one in Cartegena and again in Lisbon. I did the Gonzales Byass sherry vineyard in Cadiz. All very enjoyable and booked through P&O before I travelled. I also booked the Freixedent Cava vineyard in Barcelona, but unknown to me, the time of the trip had been changed and I missed the bus. I do take partial responsibility as I didn't check the time on my ticket. I instead went on a highlights of Barcelona trip. This was awful as we did the Sagradia Fimilia Basilica. I did this last year on Ventura. The problem is that the Basilica is THE most famous attraction in Barcelona (next to Barcelona Football Club) which means the were several thousand people in and around the Basilica and all of the pavements are full of people. Not fun at all. The trips were a little pricey but I think just about worth the money. If you decide to "do your own thing" in the ports of call or hire a local guide, be aware that these people are NOT obliged to return you to the ship for sailaway and it would be your own responsibility to get to the next port. The ship will not wait for anyone as the captain has a schedule to keep. Entertainment. There were the usual shows in the Headliners Theatre performed by the "in house" troupe of singers/dancers. I don't do shows but reports of the shows were "fantastic". There was a guest speaker-a Mr Brian J. Ford-who is a fellow at Cardiff University. He lectured on various topics and his talks were very informative and enjoyable. His lectures were not well attended until word got round resulting in his last lecture being almost "standing room only". There were also guest bands and singers. The first guest band was a UB40 tribute. I wantd to see them and I went down to the Live Lounge only to be confronted with a completely full bar and I almost couldn't get in the door. The bar itself was two or three deep and it was standing room only-if you could get in the door. I tried again for the later show but this was even worse. The second band was "Badness" who were a Bad Manners/Madness tribute along with other Ska music. Ska is a favourite of mine but again the Live Lounge was completely full to overflowing and again you nearly couldn't get in the door. I tried to see the second show to no avail. Too many people, not enough room. Observations. These are not criticisms, just things that I don't understand why people do the things they do. As I said above in "Demographics" there were various ages on the ship. What I don't understand is young couples who have just had a baby. The mother isn't working and the father is working all hours to look after baby/pay the mortgage/utility bills etc. and they they're on a cruise that probably cost around £3,000 for a family. I saw mothers pushing buggies and prams with sleeping children under a year old and younger all over the ship at times when they should be in bed. I often saw mothers pushing buggies in the bars at 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. There are least two Costa Coffee bars onboard. I heard of people buying Costa Coffee packages as these weren't free. OK I will concede that Costa Coffee is very good, but I can't understand why people pay-say £2.50-for a Costa Coffee when fresh ground coffee (as well as Twynings Tea and others) is available free in the Horizon Buffet. When we were in Gibraltar, I saw lots of people visiting the local Morrisons supermarket cafe for breakfast (to non-Brits reading this, Morrisons is a major UK supermarket chain). Again, why would anyone pay for restaurants ashore when the ship provides breakfast/lunch/dinner for free as it's full board? On a personal note. I'm a huge Formula 1 fan and I wore several F1 shirts on the Smart/Casual nights. I bumped into a guy who claimed that he had worked for a few F1 teams in his time. I had no reason to disbelieve him but on a few occasions when I was wearing an F1 shirt he would come up to me and say things like "rubbish team" or "that driver's crap". I'm not a patient man at the best of times and I don't tolerate fools gladly, but I was in polite company and I kept my mouth shut. If I had said anything to him, I would have offended quite a few people as my grasp of ancient Anglo Saxon is quite extensive. Apart from this bloke, all of my fellow cruisers were very polite and curteous at all times. The ship didn't feel "full". There were 3,600 passengers onboard but the ship felt that it wasn't full and could have accomodated a lot more. There was always room at the bars (apart from what I mentioned in "Entertainment" above). This could be a good thing, but I felt that the atmosphere wasn't there. P&O put a daily charge on your acoount. This charge was £5.50 per person per day. I will not be told when and how much I'm tipping-if at all. I went to reception to get a form to be excluded from this charge. P&O-and the other cruise companies-need to stop doing this as these cruises aren't cheap in the first place. Conclusions. Food-excellent..Drinks-prices need to be looked at-too dear for so-called "pub prices". Entertainment-reports of the shows were all good apart from not being able to see the guest bands. I was told that people were arriving at the Live Lounge two hours before the shows to get a seat. General ambience-ok but as I said above, the ship didn't have a buzz about it. I'll give this trip 8 out of 10. Not perfect-I deducted a couple of points for costly alcohol and the weather not being too good (I know we can't control the weather!). I'm on Britannia again in 2017 a little earlier in the year so the weather will probably be better-lets see what happens then. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The price was very good with cruise nation , beautiful ship very relaxing. Easy check in best we've ever had we were on the ship in 5 minutes and were in our cabin within 20 mins . We took out the £20 per person per day drinks ... Read More
The price was very good with cruise nation , beautiful ship very relaxing. Easy check in best we've ever had we were on the ship in 5 minutes and were in our cabin within 20 mins . We took out the £20 per person per day drinks package well worth it as it covered cocktails spirits beer wine coffees water sparkling wine etc Le Coruna , Lisbon, Gibraltar,Barcelona stayed in Genoa for 2 nights caught a train and ferry to portofino all fab lots of classical , opera and cirquedesoleis type shows food good .There were around 7 courses every dinner time Lilia looked after us well we were put on a table with 3 other couples who were brilliant company .I recommend the steak and tiramisu also good seafood., Singers had beautiful voices . One bar was offering free tapas with a drink , service was slow at breakfast time in Mdr so only used it the once. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We sailed 10/5/16 from Southampton. We were on the MSC Preziosa several years back with extended family and were overall disappointed, so we chose to check out the Yacht Club this time around. Although it wasn't cheap (I think it ... Read More
We sailed 10/5/16 from Southampton. We were on the MSC Preziosa several years back with extended family and were overall disappointed, so we chose to check out the Yacht Club this time around. Although it wasn't cheap (I think it doubled the price for 2 of us), I must say that it was an enjoyable experience and I would consider repeating. Most of this review is focused around the Yacht Club experience. Easy, stress-free embarkation, led by a butler to our room even though we arrived 11am. A small 30 minute immigration delay and then we were on board. Cabin-15019, nice layout, spacious (But not really to a suite standard for size on some other mainstream lines), good storage and nice but small bathroom with tub. There was a refrigerator that was restocked daily with water, snacks, alcohol, all complimentary. Ice buckets refilled, fresh fruit, newspaper daily, and slippers/robes in the room. Also of course, the butler, who seemed to have a 6th sense on our whereabouts. We would leave the room for just a minute and magically he would appear to clean, each morning. We had wished there was a quick evening clean up included, as often times our room service trays were still on our table as we arrived back to our cabin each evening. There was also complimentary room service which was quick and tasty, but very limited in selection. We missed ordering full in suite breakfasts like we did in a standard cabin on our last Celebrity cruise. However, we really enjoyed ordering beer/wine from room service as we got ready for dinner each evening. The pool bar area had a wonderful breakfast each morning. We really enjoyed going out for a relaxing, quiet breakfast each morning. Compared to the chaotic buffet, this was a completely different experience. There's a small buffet with some eggs, bacon, and potatoes as well as some pastries and fresh cut fruit. On request, each day I was given toast as well. Service here was quick and efficient. It was never busy. On a port day in La Coruna, my husband and I wanted to just stay behind and relax and we were the only 2 people on this entire deck for about 2 hours which was amazing. There is also a small pool and 2 hot tubs here, and they did get quite busy on the days where the sun decided to make an appearance. The Top Sail lounge was a great place to grab a drink or a quick snack. Probably our greatest disappointment is that this indoor lounge allowed smoking. At times, it got overwhelming and we had to leave. This should not be allowed, it is time for a change here. People can go outside if they really need to smoke, why should the rest of us have to suffer? Anna, who is Ukrainian, was a pleasure to talk with. At times, especially later in the evening, it got very quiet and boring in here, so we would leave to go explore the other lounges on the ship, outside of the yacht club. Unfortunately, drinks were only included in the YC area, so we spent quite a bit of extra money on a drink package that worked throughout the entire ship. We dined at the YC restaurant only twice, but both times were very good. We had alot of family members on board who did not stay in the YC, so we often joined them for dinner in the main dining room. Food and service were fairly average here. In the beginning, the waiter seemed a bit annoyed by our loud and boisterous group. He soon mellowed out and we got along well. We had a birthday for a 10 year old in our group, and he truly went above and beyond to ensure it was special for her, with singing and a cake. And for our experiences on the rest of the ship: We tried the tex mex specialty restaurant once, and it was delicious. It was a little surprising that the chef refused to make a small modification on my entree, but I overlooked it. The ship itself was absolutely breathtaking! It was spotless at all times. I think we went to 3 of the shows. 2 were great, and one wasn't so good. I think Dante's Inferno was enjoyed by all. Casino was fun too, but again, there was a real issue with the smoking indoors. The night club was fun we stayed out way too late on most evenings! I also went to the Spa and had an absolutely amazing massage. I went to the hair salon, and did not have the same experience. I had made a reservation for 2 people and they could only find one of the reservations. It got a bit uncomfortable, but I stood my ground, because I had made the reservations only hours before. The Cuban staff were a bit stand offish, and the styles were average, not great. We left feeling a bit disappointed, rather than excited. It was chaotic at best trying to get off the ship with so many others for our day in Lisbon. It took about an hour and was very frustrating. Another disappointment was all the drink charges on our bill, when we were in the Yacht Club and had bought a drinks package for the rest of the ship. The concierge took care of them, since they were all in error. My biggest concern with the Yacht Club Concierge (and the reason I would second guess another sailing on board) was our disembark experience. I reviewed the bill and again found errors. It appeared that the hair salon had billed me for myself and 2 children although it was just me and one child. I assured her there was not another child and she seemed to not believe me. She called the hair salon, who continued to insist that I had brought 2 children, which was ridiculous and untrue. She called the hair salon again stating that I disagreed. They continued to insist that i wait while they locate the signed receipts for the visit. I wasted about 20 minutes more, until finally they called up and said they made a mistake. The concierge apologized, but it was too late, a very bad taste was left in my mouth. All this over 30 Euros. By this time, it was late in the disembark process, and the butler led us off the ship into another extremely chaotic experience of cutting people in line and getting angry looks and comments from all the people who were patiently waiting. It was actually quite embarrassing. However, it was such a nice touch to find our luggage awaiting us in a small private room away from the crowds of 1000's who were hunting for their luggage. Overall, this was a fun cruise and a great experience and we very much enjoyed the YC. Is it true, 5 star service? No. Was there value for the money? Yes, and I would most likely do it again. MSC needs to implement small changes that will have a huge impact on the service level. Staff training would lead my list. In addition, add some longer sailings and broaden the port times. I think we had a day in Barcelona from 9-3, which isn't enough time to enjoy a city. You need full days in port, not 4 or 5 hours. Add all inclusive throughout the entire ship for YC guests. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Overall we had an enjoyable time, this was our first time on Independence of the Seas. Our stateroom was lovely and kept spotlessly clean by our steward. The two ice shows were spectacular. The Grease production was very good. One area ... Read More
Overall we had an enjoyable time, this was our first time on Independence of the Seas. Our stateroom was lovely and kept spotlessly clean by our steward. The two ice shows were spectacular. The Grease production was very good. One area that could be improved is the entertainment in the Pyramid Lounge, several times in the evenings we only had recorded music, probably because more emphasis was given to the "parties" on the Royal Promenade deck. My husband's disabilities makes attending these impossible as he is unable to stand (lack of seating) for any length of time and also very unsteady on his feet. We split our dining between the MDR and The Windjammer. The food was better in the Windjammer but very busy at times so you had to search for seats. Perhaps this is because of the decline and choice in MDR. Next time we would avoid choosing a room that had interconnecting doors due to the inconsiderate noise and bad language from the occupants. On several occasions my husband had to ask them to tone it down, this was after midnight most evenings. We reported it to guest services so that they could keep an eye it. There did seem to be many more young adults on board than we saw on our first cruise last year on Explorer of the Seas. We also feel that the gratuities charge is far to high so we opted out and gave to those we felt deserved it on the last day. Would we go with Royal Caribbean again? Yes but we would also look elsewhere as their prices for holidays and on board seem to have got a lot dearer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We had a nice time on this cruise. The weather was perfect. The ports were small and doable in the 6 short hours allotted. Because schools had started, the cruisers were mostly quiet older people. We spent no extra money on food. The ... Read More
We had a nice time on this cruise. The weather was perfect. The ports were small and doable in the 6 short hours allotted. Because schools had started, the cruisers were mostly quiet older people. We spent no extra money on food. The dining available in the complimentary dining room and the buffet was more than adequate. Mostly we ate at our white tableclothed 6pm seating, a lovely table by the window overlooking the water (or port). Lots of choices and good service. The problem with the Windjammer buffet was the lack of tables. No matter when you came it was a scramble to find somewhere to sit. Not pleasant while balancing food and drink and leaving one of your party to hold the table if you did find one. The main downside for me was the constant trying to sell you something else, whether photos, a bottle of water (really?!), more food, and so on. Getting on the ship was like walking on a beach in Mexico. I had the nicest foot reflexology massage at the spa, but a bit ruined by her wanting to sell me a brush, lotion, oil, and so on. Paying top dollar for the service so really do not need the hard sell. We did not go to all of the nightly entertainment. The Grease production was OK but not star quality. Both ice shows were very engaging. The worst experience was the talk on the ports, which should have been informative and interesting. It started 15 min late and first there was a 10 min lecture on buying another cruise. Then a woman read from the handouts about the ports, in a bored monotone voice. There was nothing added or personal. There were a few hundred people here, so a good opportunity was wasted. Very poor presentation. This ship is so big that it is put on the outer piers and it is a long walk most places for the mobility impaired to the Hop On Hop Off buses, taxis, etc. On the whole the cruise met expectations; there is always room to improve if anyone listens. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
After reading some of the adverse remarks on Cruise Critic, we were a little apprehensive of what we may find on this ship, but I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. When weighing the pros and cons up with Celebrity and Royal ... Read More
After reading some of the adverse remarks on Cruise Critic, we were a little apprehensive of what we may find on this ship, but I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. When weighing the pros and cons up with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, P & O came out very well. Not perhaps as luxurious as Celebrity but just as good, if not better, than RCI. We found the Staff to be very pleasant and helpful, especially our Cabin Steward, Monoj, who always remembered our slices of lemon and ice for our G & T's!! If you treat people well, you will usually find the same treatment. We chose Club dining and again the food was better than expected, not as good as it used to be but nowhere near as poor as we had been led to believe on earlier reviews, and we are 'foodies' and quite picky! We ate in Sindhu on 2 occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the food - it has certainly spoilt us for our local Indian! The Glass House is a favourite of ours and never disappoints! We did not eat in Epicurean this time, as we feel £40 per head is a little over the top - the standard of food should be this good throughout the ship. We ate breakfast in the Bay Tree and often went up to the Beach House for a late lunch around 2 -2.30 when it was quiet and much more pleasant than the usual bun fight! We didn't see anyone dressed 'scruffily' at dinner as had been mentioned before - in fact people were much more smartly dressed than on Celebrity or RCI, especially on formal nights - it wasn't unusual to see lovely long dresses and white tuxedos. The entertainment was very good, especially The Opera Boys and Sam Kane and the Headliners were first class. A lot has been said about the loud music blaring out on deck, but this can easily be toned down, sitting on your own balcony or in the many quiet parts of the ship. The Metropolis was the best place for a drink before or after dinner, good atmosphere and music. A great shame that people don't actually get up and dance! There are lots of things we could criticise, but what is the point, it wont make any difference in the long run! Sometimes you have to just make the best of things! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We were very apprehensive when we boarded the ship for our Trip round the western med. The ship was so big and just a little garish! Well after experiencing the best entertainment we've ever had on a cruise and pretty good food in ... Read More
We were very apprehensive when we boarded the ship for our Trip round the western med. The ship was so big and just a little garish! Well after experiencing the best entertainment we've ever had on a cruise and pretty good food in the MDR we admitted that this really had been a great cruise. The downsides were the Windjammer cafe where the food was a little bit 'school meals' and watching the rather obese (the majority!) people piling their plates was very off putting. We ate there only 5 times preferring to eat in the MDR when we could. We had breakfast in our cabin. Another off putting thing was the self serving soft ice cream machine on pool deck which was always mucky with pools of melted ice cream and cones lying n it. Really horrible and they should get rid of it or make sure it is clean at all times. We had a select drinks package and upgraded to the premier package to get cocktails and spirits etc. The silly thing with the drink packages is that canned soft drinks are not included, only fountain drinks. As I don't want fountain drinks I had to pay nearly $4 for a can of tonic or Diet Coke! What a crazy policy when whisky, gin, vodka etc etc are part of the package, they should change the policy as a lot of people were angry about it. So......would we go on a RCI cruise again, well maybe but other cruise lines have more pluses for us, especially Celebrity. If you want a good party ship with great entertainment this is a good ship to go on. If you want a more refined cruise experience this is definitely not for you. Good points. Embarkation and disembarkation. Staff throughout the ship were excellent. Quietness of cabin. Theatre Shows. Ice shows. Street Parties in the Promenade. Food in MDR Serving staff in MDR, especially Samuel and Valentin. Not forgetting, Nicole our excellent cabin attendant. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I think any holiday is what you put into it. We have been on IOS about five times and therefore love the ship. We cruised this time for our Silver Wedding Anniversary and we had a lovely time. We had the drinks package, it was free as part ... Read More
I think any holiday is what you put into it. We have been on IOS about five times and therefore love the ship. We cruised this time for our Silver Wedding Anniversary and we had a lovely time. We had the drinks package, it was free as part of the deal when we booked 18 months before but talking to other people it does work out as value for money, so long as you have more than five drinks a day, which can be done quite easily without being an alcoholic! We enjoyed the various areas of the ship and enjoyed the shows; The Quest and Darren Day were a particular highlight and were highly entertaining. Yes, Royal Caribbean have made changes in menu choices and portion sizes in the MDR, however the Windjammer was as varied as on our previous cruises and our anniversary meal in Chops was very nice. All the staff we encountered were very hard working and professional. Our cabin attendant attended to our every need and was always about, morning and evening and our cabin was kept tidy and clean. He made two towel swans for our anniversary and gave us a card and the swans stayed for whole of the cruise until we docked at Southampton! Our embarkation and disembarkation was quick and easy, we were on the ship within fifteen minutes of parking our car and disembarking was possibly quicker than that. We enjoyed all the ports we visited but always got off and walked, Valencia being the only one we had to use the shuttle bus for. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, met some lovely people, ate and drank possibly too much and the only negative would be the two days at sea at the end of the cruise, we usually have one day. We had lovely warm, sunny weather for the time of year and look forward to a return cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our first cruise. Embarkation was very good, everything was explained, I was very nervous, but was made to feel at ease. Our dinner table was with others, asked to have table for two, which was easy to change. Cabin was ... Read More
This was our first cruise. Embarkation was very good, everything was explained, I was very nervous, but was made to feel at ease. Our dinner table was with others, asked to have table for two, which was easy to change. Cabin was ready at 1pm, our cases were outside our cabin on arrival. The cabins are compact, we had a balcony, which was lovely. The main dining room was very good, excellent food, and service. We did find that the shore excursions were not very good, over priced, and our guides was not informative. There are shuttle buses to locations, at a small fee , this is the best way to see sights at your leisure. There were ice shows, and musicals in the evening, we did also watch some films, which could be seen inside, and out. We played mini golf, bingo, and joined in the quiz, you can do as little or as much as you want. I had top to toe massage, which was amazing. The overall service on the ship was excellent, the staff were always happy to help. Our only complaint, was disembarkation, we had to find our own cases, at the number we had been given (7). We searched for about 15 minutes, only to find them in number (12). We enjoyed this cruise, and have booked again for next year, and will be taking the whole family. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016

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