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240 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Some things on the cruise were terrific. The waiting staff were. The food generally was of a high standard, at times excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and in that respect the cruise was 5 star plus. When I needed my trousers ... Read More
Some things on the cruise were terrific. The waiting staff were. The food generally was of a high standard, at times excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and in that respect the cruise was 5 star plus. When I needed my trousers repaired, the tailor appeared in moments, disappeared briefly, and reappeared with the trousers totally repaired. A lot of the staff were actually incredibly nice. In other respects it was a bit wide of the mark. The wifi was very poor, but that is being upgraded, apparently. The communal seats were sprayed with some sort of deodorant, so every time I sat on them, I had to change my trousers because they stank of something nasty. The washing machines all injected with a washing liquid automatically into the system, so after I washed my clothes, I couldn't wear them because I need a non-bio powder, and am allergic to the chemical ones. I was left with a couple of T-Shirts and a few pairs of pants that I had to recycle manually. There is a notice in the launderetter - an A4 laminated thing in black and white ink, that was stuck behind someone who was ironing- that alerts you to the fact the washing machines are self-powdered. i never saw it. Not sure I would have seen it had the person ironing not been there either. The downstairs launderette boasted 4 machines that didn't self powder...I tried one. it also automatically injected detergent. WhenI got back to the UK, I needed 5 washes to remove the strong chemicals from my clothes so that I was able to wear them again. So 10 washes in all. I raised these issues with F.Olsen, and they replied a stock reply. I pointed out that the reply was factually incorrect, and they replied that I was wrong and they were correct. I took umbrage. I wrote to their head office. They wrote back and said they were taking my complaint seriously. That was the last I heard. I could easily have gone for a 2 star rating here, but I feel that is unjust to the 1000 staff who work very hard onboard. There were other niggly things. A major problem is what happens when you dock. In Casablanca we experienced Taxi Wars. Eventually a gun toting policeman came in and starting physically fighting with the taxi drivers. A bit eyebrow raising at the best of times, even more so when you have a disabled person with you. As I waited for the scheduled bus, I was harangued and harassed by the same culprits as before...I then got totally lost in Casablanca, and ended up in the slums; as sundown approached I realized I could have a serious problem. If I had known how louche and potentially dangerous the place was, I would have been more circumspect. A decent map would not have gone amiss. I am surprised the Cruise Companies don't work together, and have a Local Guide in major ports who can handle things like....taxis...and so on. The Southampton Port Authority is a joke. Staff are rude and hostile. Lots of people were getting very irate. Don't suppose F.Olsen care, as they would say once off the ship it is not their responsibility. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Ship showing signs of age and lowered standards. In dining rooms lights not working and paint peeling on ceiling, stateroom carpet needed a good wet clean. However dining staff and room cleaners worked very hard, were obliging and ... Read More
Ship showing signs of age and lowered standards. In dining rooms lights not working and paint peeling on ceiling, stateroom carpet needed a good wet clean. However dining staff and room cleaners worked very hard, were obliging and pleasant. Food and entertainment generally good. Unfortunately, ship crew were short staffed and uncaring. Typical cost saving measures in Gibralta on 20th October 2015 proved how uncaring p & O had become. On this day rain was torrential all morning and my wife and I became drenched and very wet from flooded roads and returned to ship. Three gangways were in position but only one in use. Two x ray machines available on the one gangway but only one in use. This meant long queues (30 minutes plus) in torrential rain to get on board. No attempt to provide shelter and no hot drinks to welcome one on board (I shall stick to American ships in future). I imagine the crew had a good laugh at the poor customers waiting to get on board - no point in using other gangways as crew could get wet. However we did not let these declining standards spoil our holiday which we enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our second cruise with P and O - and not quite as good as the first. The first was on Oceana. Cabin - We opted for a super de lux cabin with balcony. On the the whole it was worth spending the extra money for a larger room ... Read More
This was our second cruise with P and O - and not quite as good as the first. The first was on Oceana. Cabin - We opted for a super de lux cabin with balcony. On the the whole it was worth spending the extra money for a larger room overall with plenty of storage space, a larger bathroom with shower and a larger balcony - we like spending time on the balcony with a drink and just watching the sea go by. However we had a problem with our toilet - it would not flush in the morning. We had to continually ring reception who would send someone to fix it every morning. Despite them telling us it would be "monitored" - it obviously wasn't as it continually malfunctioned. We escalated our complaint and received a bottle of wine and money added to our on board account - after that it worked.....! Food - We had freedom dining in Cinnamon restaurant. The food there was mainly better on formal nights. The service was ok - but could have been better. We ate in all the speciality restaurants. They were all good. Glasshouse - Ate there a few times including the wine pairing night - was always very good. The staff seemed knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Sindhu - Ate there twice - fantastic. Very good quality. Wasn't the usual high street curry house - was high end good quality food. Epicurean - Also very nice food. Beach house - A mainly steak and chicken based restaurant. A lot of the dishes come out "sizzling" hot. We had sizzling chicken and "cook at the table" steak - all very tasty and worth the money. Waterside buffet - Is just that - a buffet. Not the best but is fine for what it is and always seemed to be open if all else fails. Bars - we only ever used one - The Exchange. Service was always good. Prices - fine, no apparent extra loading on the price. Costa coffee - Used it several times. Service was always prompt. No problems. Best to buy a costa card for good value. Ports of call. In our opinion there was too long in Malaga - we thought it was a soulless place, not long enough in Gibraltar - only 4 - 5 hours - needed longer. Only did one excursion - Lisbon. Was fine - No problems. Entertainment. Can't comment on the shows as didn't go to any. We mainly did quizzes and casino. The quizzes were mainly ok. Casino was fine - but needs to be a bit larger. Overall. Although I have only given it a 3 star rating it was basically an ok cruise just not brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Having cruised with Royal Carribean 7 times we thought we'd give P&O a try due to the itinery we wanted to do on RC being to expensive and this one being half the price-will never quibble on price again. There is a reason why RC ... Read More
Having cruised with Royal Carribean 7 times we thought we'd give P&O a try due to the itinery we wanted to do on RC being to expensive and this one being half the price-will never quibble on price again. There is a reason why RC are more expensive-better overall experience. PORTS OF CALL Happy with the ports we called at. In Malaga we didn't have to be back on board till 11.30pm so we went out after dinner for drinks on the marina which was fab. We did an excursion in Malaga which was good value for money and really enjoyable. EMBARKATION Really easy and quick-couldn't have been better. ENTERTAINMENT Really dissapointed with the entertainment. Most acts were repeated 2 or 3 times throughout the cruise. Freddie Mercury tribute was good but Phil Collins was embarrassing. Arena was to small and cramped. Enjoyed the quizzes and there were 2 horse racing nights in The Exchange which were good fun. BARS A lot of the bars lacked atmosphere. The Glasshouse was nice with friendly staff. The Exchange also was quite lively. One night we were enjoying a drink in The Tamarind Bar and as soon as the clock struck midnight the lights all came on and the music was turned off and all the staff disappeared. This was unusual as on other cruises I have been on the bars and entertainment carries on way past midnight. Drinks were reasonably priced. FOOD We ate in the Bay Tree. Food was good although 1 night the veg was missing off one of our plates. when we made the waiter aware of this he came back 10 minutes later with a bowl of veg. By this point the rest of the dish was cold and the other people on the table had finished their meals. I felt a fresh meal should have been brought out. Felt like the staff were trying to rush you in and out. The best part was our wine waiter Amol who was really friendly. We ate in the Glasshouse 1 night which was brilliant.great food,drink and service. Very reasonably priced. Waterside buffet to cramped. Only ever 1 part of the restaurant open. Poor choice of food that was rarely labelled so didn't know what it was. Had to ask for clean knives every day and also never any clean cups at breakfast. Felt like the school canteen being pushed along the queue with no time to look. CABIN Excellent cabin attendant and was really pleased with the standard of cabin and cleanliness. SERVICE I must say I was really dissapointed with the attitude of the staff. The waiters in the restaurant made no personal conversation with us. Staff on reception were rude. Staff in Costa very unpleasant and made you feel uncomfortable being in there and got our order wrong 3 times. On a number of occasions staff were having personal conversations in public areas that I didn't feel were appropriate for guests to here. Also witnessed staff drinking in the bars on numerous occasions and acting rowdy. The price we paid for the cruise was reflected in the experience-we got what we paid for. I did enjoy the holiday but not a patch on previous cruises with RC. In future I will not think twice about paying more to cruise with RC as the quality and experience is well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first cruise with P&O though we have done eight transatlantic crossings, seven on the QM2 and one on the Victoria, so we were somewhat intrigued as to what lay ahead of us. Our embarkation was smooth and without issue, no ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O though we have done eight transatlantic crossings, seven on the QM2 and one on the Victoria, so we were somewhat intrigued as to what lay ahead of us. Our embarkation was smooth and without issue, no mean feat considering the numbers of passengers boarding. Unlike Cunard we were left to find our own way to our cabin and found our luggage waiting in the passageway, not on our beds as we have been used to. Our cabin was clean and tidy, we were fortunate to have an extremely attentive cabin steward who, when called upon, carried out our requests promptly and well. The cabin was spacious and well appointed. After the usual emergency drill we made our way up to Deck 15 to the 'comunal' eating area. On getting there we were surprised by both the numbers of people and the volume of noise present - of course Ventura carries some 1200 more passengers that we had previously experienced. Overall we were not too impressed by either the content and choice of the buffets. There was a predominance of curried foods, unimaginative salad choice and feeling that had we pondered more over our choice we would have heard someone call out "Move along please..". On nearly every visit to the buffet we were met with a rather confusing presentation of food. Cold plates for salads were stacked alongside hot plates for hot food, soup was tucked away in a corner and was difficult to get at and the menu notices above the food listed the foods but didn't give a clear indication as to what was what. After we had eaten we took a 'get-your-bearings' trip around the ship. The pool areas on Deck 15 were spacious but, as we found out, became very busy and very noisy. Of course the entertainments put on were designed to be a 'group activity' but on more than one occasion we moved away because of the non-stop musak played at people, just a little above the volume comfort zone. In the main it is these activities (do people really still join in to YMCA?) that make me refer to this cruise as 'Butlin's at Sea'. On returning inside to explore further we had our first onboard 'ambush'. (more of this later). One thing I thought I'd be grateful for was the smoking areas. I make no apology for being a smoker and I am happy to comply with rules and regulations, but to find that, almost without exception, the whole of the starboard side of the ship was a smoking zone left me a little confused. If you follow the sun then at certain times the promenade deck will become a battleground when it comes to finding a seat. Likewise on Deck 15 the 'enclosed' area around the pool was always full of smokers making it nigh impossible for a non-smoker to find a sheltered table and chairs. And, sadly, despite notices I did see passengers firing cigarette butts and empty packets over the side! My wife and I enjoy the formal aspect of cruising, it's a great equaliser onboard a ship. But I was dismayed to see the number of passengers who, in my humble opinion, hadn't read the dress code information provided. Black tie OR dark suit.. OK, that's not rocket science.. why then pack a light gray suit? And it did appear that quite a few passengers were not 'signing up' for the formal at all. Their choice of course. Dinner in the main dining room was I fear an average affair. We were fortunate to be seated with personable fellow passengers and conversation was generally lively. I was not overly impressed with the menus though. The food served was only average. There was a strange bowl used for both starters (Prawn Cocktail) and dessert. It resembled a dish canted at an angle and was difficult to eat from. The wine selection was workmanlike and I think over-priced. Our first port of call was Barcelona and we chose to do our own thing. A walk up the Ramblas a hop-on, hop-off tourist bus got us to the Gaudi cathedral.. then we went back to the ship, eagerly awaiting our next port of call. Monte Carlo. Well Monte Carlo didn't happen. We got there, the weather was dull and the sea had, so we were informed, too much swell to ferry passengers ashore by tender. OK, Health & Safety wins and it was nice to know our captain had the concerns of the passengers at heart. But the hours and hours of delay in recovering a tender due to some hydraulic problem became a bit trying. Italy next with Livorno and Civitavecchia ahead. I'm not going to go into detail as it's suffice to say the two tours we had were good. First to Lucca and secondly to an Italian Agro-turist farm. Food here was excellent and plentiful. Very enjoyable trip. Our penultimate port of call was Alicante. It was hot and dusty but time ashore was good. No tours here, just a wander around and an excellent lunch. Finally, Gibraltar. Bathed in sunshine it soon became jam packed with cruise passengers as there were at least three other ships in port.. Duty free was worthwhile and, due to a very short stop, we headed back to the ship for lunch. Prior to our departing Gibraltar we found ourselves right in the middle of what must be the biggest display of jingoism I have ever been part of. Union flags given out, the entertainment 'crew' singing songs from England, Scotland Ireland and Wales (it appears that Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are no longer part of Great Britain.. as a Manxman that annoyed me greatly..!!!). We had Rule Britannia, Land of Hope & Glory etc... and it was incredibly LOUD. Overall the seas were good to us for the whole 4000+ trip. The weather was good too. My feelings on the entertainment on the ship are that it was just a little above workingman's club level. All of the 'venues' morphed into varying 'Saturday-night-at-the pub' places. Certainly if you ate at the second sitting you'd be hard pressed to find a table at any of the entertainment spots. We spent time (and money) in the casino and I felt that it was there almost as an afterthought. It was cramped and tacked on to the 'pub'. Cruises are many things to many people and this was no exception but the onboard shopping was, at best, mediocre. In fact some of it was decidedly tacky. I was shocked at the lack of P&O merchandise on sale and what I saw I certainly wouldn't have paid good money for.. Not good P&O, not good at all. And with 'sales' in mind I'll return to our onboard 'ambush'... Of course I except that after-market sales play a big part in the cruise revenue but my wife and I (and many, many others too) were constantly 'ambushed' by the staff from the Spa selling their wares. It became almost impossible to enter or exit a lift without someone trying to sell you some beauty, health or some such preparation. And all at silly prices too. If people want these 'treatments' they will find them, we do not need them forced on us. As I said at the start this was our first P&O cruise. Despite all I have said it wont be the last but we will choose a different type of cruise. We did enjoy ourselves, it was a pleasant holiday. Unfortunately it came to a sad end with the loss of a passenger overboard, it was not an accident nor was it malicious. But the captain dealt with this sad event admirably. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Just got back from a 13 night cruise on P&O Ventura, Not our first cruise with p&o as we have been on oceana and oriarna . The ship was clean and tidy but the prices of the drinks were expensive, The entertainment was so poor ... Read More
Just got back from a 13 night cruise on P&O Ventura, Not our first cruise with p&o as we have been on oceana and oriarna . The ship was clean and tidy but the prices of the drinks were expensive, The entertainment was so poor after the first show we decided not to bother again, cheep tack entertainment all round P&0 need to get their act together or they will be losing customers. The cabin was ample size and kept clean by our fantastic cabin steward Gladson, The trips are getting far to expensive, at £40/50/60 plus per person, We found you can do the trips yourself for less than half the price. The food was very good on board at all of the restaurants and the self service buffet also had a good choice of menu. I think we will cruise again next year but look for other options, overall we enjoyed our time onboard but it needs to liven up a bit. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I read the reviews before we went and I was a bit concerned as some seemed a bit harsh. We went with an open mind and it started well. Our balcony cabin was clean, comfortable bed and good shower. Our cabin attendant was lovely, always ... Read More
I read the reviews before we went and I was a bit concerned as some seemed a bit harsh. We went with an open mind and it started well. Our balcony cabin was clean, comfortable bed and good shower. Our cabin attendant was lovely, always smiling and hard working. Lots of fresh bedding and towels. Unfortunately our cabin couldn't have been further from the buffet restaurants we seemed to walk miles every day. I would suggest looking at this kind of thing when booking. Up and down in lifts and even after 2 weeks we were still getting lost. The sun loungers were squeezed along beside the pools and as there was no space at all between them it made it very difficult to get onto them and almost impossible to get off again.There was nowhere to put a bag or a drink. I felt the ship had two parts one for the chavs and the other for everyone else. Brodie's bar and the Casino and all together and when there are quizzes in Brodie's you struggle sometimes to play at the Casino and get a drink. Perhaps the Casino should be in a separate part altogether. I did feel the dance floor tiny and to be in the Atrium you were a bit like being in a goldfish bowl. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and the food was good with plenty of choice. We enjoyed the ports of call but don't think we will be back on Azura as it wasn't what we were expecting Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We choose Royal Caribbean because we have previously cruised P&O and although we had a wonderful time we fancied trying something with a bit of a younger crowd with us being in our 30's. Embarkation was simple 20 minutes max and ... Read More
We choose Royal Caribbean because we have previously cruised P&O and although we had a wonderful time we fancied trying something with a bit of a younger crowd with us being in our 30's. Embarkation was simple 20 minutes max and we were on the ship, we had the select drinks package as part of the holiday but we wanted to upgrade to the ultimate package, there was a table where you could do it before you got on the ship but they said that we weren't listed as having a package so we went to guest services and the beverage manager sorted it out for us after about 20 minutes, the upgrade cost $800 for both of us for 16 nights which seemed a lot but at $14 per cocktail it seemed worth it if you do get a package make sure you get your cups so you can get drinks from the self service, we were told that they would be waiting in our room but they wasn't. First impressions of the ship were good we had a drink on the promenade then checked out the ship, room was ready at 1 and it was great to drop off all of our stuff, our luggage wasn't at our door but we spotted it down the corridor so we wheeled it down ourselves and quickly unpacked. We had an inside cabin 7487 at the back of the ship, it was just as you'd expect small and compact but had everything you needed. PRO's - We did my time dining and from day one we got an excellent table for 2 with excellent wait staff Elizabeth and Lockie, nothing was too much for them, they would make recommendations about the menu and they were genuinely nice people it was a joy to get to know them. One thing that did annoy me (nothing to do with the wait staff) but around 7 days in a few people from other sections complained about the service so they got moved to our section which is fine but one couple had our time of 8.45 and ended up getting our table and we were moved I never mentioned it but it annoyed our wait staff also, I can't understand why when people are allocated a section and turn up every night get snubbed when people complain, it happened to a couple we met but even worse they got shipped out to another section to make way for people who had complained, it's just not fair as you get to know your wait staff and they get to know you. Food in the dining room was good, quite often there wasn't a starter or desert that I fancied but mains was good especially the beef cooked 2 different ways it was excellent. - We met some lovely and interesting people of all ages on the flip side we met some very rude people who either didn't have any manors to start with or had left them in Southampton! - We went to some lovely ports (details below). CON's - Sales. Felt very pushy from day one, you'd be sitting having a drink and someone would be pushing the speciality restaurants, really if they are that good why do you need to sell them? Then the captain would do his usual 12am announcement and rather than him giving us actual facts he'd be telling us which speciality restaurant he would be eating at that night and how nice his watch was that he had bought from the promenade, or what spa treatment would be nice to get done this felt especially cheap and tacky coming from the captain, we had really bad weather one day he tried to sell acupuncture. Photos, they took the opportunity everywhere you would be sitting eating your evening meal and they would come up to you wanting to take pictures, one night we was in the R Bar getting a drink and one of the photographers came behind the bar and wanted to take my picture I said no thanks the bar man said good luck getting your next drink if you don't get your picture taken, the photographers where that pushy I can only think they are targeted on the amount of pictures they take. I refused to buy any at $20 each. - Entertainment. Really disappointed with the entertainment, I understand that all of the shows aren't going to be to my taste but I was really impressed on P&O so I thought the standard would be the same or better on this ship sadly not, the shows where either poor or mediocre and it wasn't just us that thought this the amount of people that you same walking out was embarrassing not to mention the people that didn't even bother going. One of the singers was good and the girl that say with him was ok. The ice show was amazing DO NOT miss it. The cruise director made my skin crawl and was just as cheap as some of the shocking entertainment, oh and he loved his sales just as much as the captain any opportunity he got, he came across as crude and I just didn't take to him at all. I found it really weird how the final show was made up of a not so funny comedian then broke in to song, then when he was finished he tried to sell us a DVD nothing flowed and it seemed that when they didn't have any budget to hire an act he would pop up and fill in, just like the night before he tried his hand at comedy, what do they say 'jack of all trades master of none'. Also some of the entertainment was cringing something you'd expect to see on an 18-30's cheapo holiday, the belly flopping competition for example oh and the quest was middle aged over weight women whipping there bras off, one women got confused and took her knickers off instead they had to cover her with a towel while she got dressed again. - I have to agree with people when they say the ship felt overcrowded round the pool/bars and public places etc, although over 3500 people on a ship I suppose you are going to. I will disagree with people when they say they couldn't get a sun bed, we could everyday granted it wasn't in a position that you would choose but you could get one, the only problem is it was no where near a pool which for me personally I like dipping in and out of the pool when it's hot. - Service (not counting the excellent service we got in the evening in the dining room). Patchy at best but to be fair to the staff most of the time they just looked to busy and to be fair getting up to get your own drinks isn't the worst thing you remember holidays where you got excellent service and this wasn't one of them. One particular thing that really upset me was the appalling service we got at the sit down lunch on the last day (I'm guessing the staff where thinking about going home) you could see that they wasn't bothered from the outset which is fine we all have bad days, we were ordering off the menu and he was walking off before we even got to main course. By the time we were served main course we still hadn't been offered a drink, I asked and I was told that he would try but he thinks that the bar would have closed? really it had been open every other time we'd been in there and if it was the case why not say when we sat down, needless to say he came back with a drink. Both our deserts came incorrect I told the waiter and he said oh well and walked off. What upset me was at no point was I rude or short so why should I get it back? Ports Gibraltar - been before and not keen so did a Dolphin trip with dolphin adventures it was lovely. Barcelona - was our 4th time so we went to Montserrat, only a 1/2 day trip and well worth it we got a beautiful day and the views were spectacular. Cannes - it took us a while to tender, our plan was to have the morning walking round then nip back on the boat and get our beach stuff and have the afternoon on the beach but due to the delay getting off we just explored, its a lovely town and if you walk behind the Radisson hotel it less commercial and very French. We had a drink on the main strip on the beach a place called Belle Plage it was lovely if we went again we would have the day there, they have beds on the beach with an umbrella for 12 euro plus they have very clean toilets. Rome - we did the shuttle to Rome and did our own thing as we've been before, had a lovely day and a great lunch. Florence - we did the Florence and Pisa trip, long day but worth it will be going back for a weekend to Florence. Cagliari - didn't get off, did our research and we didn't fancy it so had a relaxing day after the 2 long days in Italy. Malaga and Cadiz - both near the port so just did our own thing Lisbon - did the Segway trip it was fun, stand on top deck when going under Lisbon bridge its an experience and don't count on the captain telling you about it he's to busy in his sales role. Regarding the trips yes they where expensive with RC but they were easy and all in all pretty well organised. One last thing check your account, we had the ultimate package but still got charged for some cocktails and coffee from starbucks, guest relations sorted it but it just seemed like another trip to guest services that I shouldn't have needed to take. All in all we enjoyed seeing the ports but we've had much better service and overall experience on past holidays both cruising an on land therefore we won't cruise RCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
After a superb cruise on Celebrity Reflection last year to the Eastern Med we were looking forward to the same high standard on the Eclipse. Sadly it wasn't to be. Some of our meals and the meals of others at our table (main ... Read More
After a superb cruise on Celebrity Reflection last year to the Eastern Med we were looking forward to the same high standard on the Eclipse. Sadly it wasn't to be. Some of our meals and the meals of others at our table (main restaurant) were not good, - meat tough, fish dry, sauces too salty. Tea in the Coffee Shop was lukewarm. Also at breakfast in the main restaurant staff brought cups and saucers without teaspoons so we were looking around at empty tables for them - I even witness one elderly gentleman eating his porridge with a fork because he didn't have a spoon to eat it with!!! Surely the staff could make sure diners had the correct cutlery. Several of the acts on the theatre were very good, however a couple like the Beatles tribute band were awful and the guy doing card tricks did more talking than card tricks. We've not been on many cruises so I can only make my comparison against the Reflection were all our meals were excellent as were the shows. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Boarded very quickly and cabin ready at 2pm. Ship décor very nice and atrium very bright. Cabin bigger than some we have been in, but lack of storage space for clothes etc but bathroom very big and nice shower with glass screen. ... Read More
Boarded very quickly and cabin ready at 2pm. Ship décor very nice and atrium very bright. Cabin bigger than some we have been in, but lack of storage space for clothes etc but bathroom very big and nice shower with glass screen. Service poor in bars in the evening and had to wait a long time so not very good. Main dining room stunning décor but food let it down and preffered great choice in buffet., also waiters in there had no rapport with us at all, (8 ) of us over 14 nights so used buffet and other select dining options> Tuscan grille and quisine excellent but at a further cost to us. Excursions, 2 were excellent, one poor as guide hardly spoke any english and hard to understand and not worth the cost . Entertainment, very different with lots of speciality acts, which personally did not appeal to us and lacked the shows of dancing and singing by on board team each evening. Late night entertainment good but one comedian so bad , most people walked out Disembarkation good till we went o collect cases in hall, and queue very long just to get a trolley so was a long time getting out Summary, we prefer another cruise line that we have used for many years Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Having been on the Azura to Norway was hoping that this ship and crew would exceed the shortcomings I found on the Azura. Having arrived an hour late because of a massive traffic jam on the A3 outside Guildford, the embarkation was a fast ... Read More
Having been on the Azura to Norway was hoping that this ship and crew would exceed the shortcomings I found on the Azura. Having arrived an hour late because of a massive traffic jam on the A3 outside Guildford, the embarkation was a fast doddle. Within a short time we had the emergency drill which turned out to be the worst ever. A massive amount of people were cramped into a small space with inadequate seating and we waited and waited and waited for the announcements to start. About half an hour later the event began, whilst the air conditioning failed in its duties and was getting hotter by the minute. A really bad start. Got to the cabin and found that the wardrobe was cramped and the safe was right on the floor. The taps in the bathroom refused to give cold water, only hot and warm, and this persisted over the whole cruise, besides reporting it on several occasions. The excuse given was that it was an old ship! Found that the Freedom dining option in the Peninsular restaurant worked well; really nice room with tables well spaced out. Food in there was adequate but service was rushed and a meal that could have been enjoyed over an hour and three quarters was over sometimes in just over an hour. Meat portions were sometimes enough to feed a mouse and vegetables were sometimes barely to be found on the plate. The bread provided looked unappetising and was. Sometimes food had to be sent back because it was undercooked. Had game one day and almost broke my tooth on lead shot. when I complained about this they asked for my cabin number but I never heard from them. I liked the swimming pools on the ship but unbelievably they were not heated, so except on very hot days were underused. There were no art gallery on this ship, unlike many of the other P&O vessels. Also unlike many other shipping lines there was no free minutess of use on the Internet bearing in mind the number of times I had been on P&O. My worst criticism was on the Conservatory, the buffet restaurant on deck 12. The choice of food at lunchtime was the worst of any ship I have ever been on, over 50 cruises. No carvery and barely any British food in sight, hardly any vegetables. 90 per cent of the passengers British, and curries and pasta galore. Not only that but the food was often tasteless, unappetising and lacked quality. At breakfasts the waiters did not come round to bring or refill tea or coffee. Went with 6 others to the recommended main speciality restaurant one evening. £12.50 a head plus an extra £3.50 for lobster or similar for specialty steak.had to wait ages for the main course and when it finally arrived the chips, nicely arranged on separate plated look appetising until we found they were raw inside. We called the waiter who promptly took them away to get them replaced. We waited and waited and finally had to start because the rest of the food on the plate was getting cold. Eventually the new chips turned up after we had finished. After our sweet we ordered coffee, and we had to wait an age; eventually In total frustration we asked for service only to be told that they were waiting for one of us to finish their cheese. We replied that they could at least have asked us when we wanted it served. When it came to the bill, we said that under the circumstances we should have our bill reduced but they refused. Consequently we did not recommend this restaurant to others. Went to most of the shows after dinner, and although the dancers strutted their stuff well, the main singers in the theatre company were well below par. Not all the cruise was bad and enjoyed most of it, but thought I should at least report here some of the shortcomings. To cap it all on the final night I returned to my cabin after the show only to find that it had NOT been made up, hence a much reduced tip in the morning. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
1st of all I want to say I work in Afghanistan working 7 days a week 13 hours a day and due to other family commitments this was (is) my only holiday for 2015 for myself and my wife so I really wanted a great cruise before I headed back to ... Read More
1st of all I want to say I work in Afghanistan working 7 days a week 13 hours a day and due to other family commitments this was (is) my only holiday for 2015 for myself and my wife so I really wanted a great cruise before I headed back to Afghanistan! In general the ship was OK but needs to concentrate on the basics and not to go all out for hi tech gimmicks to entice customers onto the ship. I've been on 5 different cruise lines now and from what I've seen on this cruise RCI is not near the top in my estimation! Bad Things (in no particular order): Bar service at 270 was amazingly slow. RCI need to find a faster software for the tills as it takes twice as long to enter the data than serve the drinks. Wrist band experiment has failed - normally staff asked me for my card and declined my wrist band so what's the point in having 2 types of ID. I eventually stopped wearing my wrist band. Service in Restaurants is inconsistent - sometimes it was good and some times it was terrible. Chic & Grande are really the same restaurant with the same menu. Some peoples interpretation of Formal is stunning! RCI needs to have a better variation of menu's and cater for vegetarians more but food in all restaurants was always excellent. Sun Beds(or lack of!) - effective policing is required (say no more). More activities are required during the day other than quizzes! Control of 'out of control' teenagers (& families) was required and was sadly lacking. The Adults Only pool area (Solarium)was not policed effectively with kids using it on a regular basis. Some of the shows were inferior to other cruise lines. I'm still trying to understand why a BMX bike was in a show about 1896 Victorian England! All in all it was a good cruise but not a great cruise! I really want RCI to read this and make efforts to rectify their faults! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Let me start by saying we are big fans of P&O family cruises having sailed 4 times before twice on Ventura with P&O. For us its the perfect family holiday with quality & luxury thrown in. I am sorry to say Britannia did not ... Read More
Let me start by saying we are big fans of P&O family cruises having sailed 4 times before twice on Ventura with P&O. For us its the perfect family holiday with quality & luxury thrown in. I am sorry to say Britannia did not meet the standards we expect from P&O. Let me start with the positive ● Horizon buffet much improved ● Grab and go a good idea ● Wine tasting room attached to glass house superb ● Amazing staff and organisation in the glass house lead by Alex and Anup. ● Crow’s nest superb ● With so many children on board the splitting up of pools for age groups a wise idea. ● Deck supervisors to enforce safety with so many children great (only on board because their were 800 children under the age of 18) ● Increased deck space for sun loungers and the large comfy chairs dotted about a great improvement. ● A courteous and discreet cabin steward (as always) ● Support for the McMillians charity with a Coffee morning. A superb idea. ● Twist & pulse whom joined the ship in Gibraltar were excellent with the kids and delightful young gentlemen. Idea for a cruise with so many kids, and the appealed to all ages. ● The superb service once again given by Lynn & Danny together with their whole team in the children’s clubs. Now the bad ● Lack of communication on the pool deck. We asked if the children could swim with the "pool deck supervisors" only to be told they had to leave the pool by production staff less than two mins later so they could set up for a show. Upon complaining the Area supervisor he said he had rapidly asked for a time that the pools needed to be closed to advise passengers – they were not told until our very unhappy children were required to leave.This closure was also not advertised in Horizon. ● A Waiter seen chewing gum constantly, on more than one occasion.(pet hate) ● Reduced number of pool parties from three on our last cruise to one on this. No 80’s night - no Hawaiian night. ● No deck BBQ ● No ice or fruit carvings – anywhere. Things like this – attention to detail is part of what makes cruising special. ● A poor excuse for chocolate day, no fantastic displays, fountains or other extras. Just an extended buffet of cakes (with a bit of chocolate dressing). Holding it in the Horizon again did not help give any sense of occasion. ● Foul and abusive language played on the ship's radio in the gym and throughout the ship on channel 1 of the ships radio (reported several times by staff & customers apparently over many weeks) and never fixed. ● Fridges in many many cabins that don't cool properly as the air vents are up against the side of the fridge lower than where the heat rises and accumulates. ● No ship department display in the atrium to allow passengers to learn more about all the hard work the different departments do. ● An unenthusiastic and careless attitude of the matra d in sindu who seemed to find our enquiry to book an inconvenience rather than an opportunity to make a sale, needless to say we didn't book. ● The lack of a full prom deck. This serves as a fantastic way to see our surroundings but also as an exercise deck and walkway to move around the ship at peak times such as when the headliner theatre finishes. ● The lack of central cases. Why oh why? Having a midship cabin we either had to walk half the length of the ship (AND BACK) or clog up a lift to simply go one floor. ● A service Manager (room service) that thought it was acceptable to ring us at 0730 following a complaint the previous day. ● The depth of the main pools reserved for families and children ( an average adult could hardly touch the floor of the pool). They did lower one saying it would be left lower, only for them to refill it a few days later. The lack of accurate communication was embarrassing and unprofessional and a feature throughout the ship. ● The lighting in the atrium not working correctly so that the ambiance could be changed at night etc. we likened it to a shopping centre rather than an hub for relaxing. ● The continuing drumming down of standards of dress. Evening casual now included ripped jeans. Formal nights not enforced (perhaps not even encouraged)! We were told when we booked the glass house for a formal night we need not wear black tie. We were shocked! ● And last but not least the size of our cabin was unacceptable for a family of four. We could not use the balcony, fridge or do anything but lie on the bed once the children's beds were set up (which is over 15 hours a day on average). I would hesitate to put more than two in this room without people feeling claustrophobic. We are enthusiastic cruisers and have found our previous cruises to be superb. In fact we never made one complaint whist on-board in the 56 days at sea. This cruise as you can see was much different, a big disappointment and unfortunately not what we have come to expect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
A Lot has been written about this ship, and I will try to be brief. The cabins are nice but balconies are too small. We had our son and family in next cabin, so had divider open, and it was difficult to move with four loungers, two tables ... Read More
A Lot has been written about this ship, and I will try to be brief. The cabins are nice but balconies are too small. We had our son and family in next cabin, so had divider open, and it was difficult to move with four loungers, two tables and four adults (not counting the two grandkids). Cabins well cleaned though, and good choice of films etc on tv. Food good, but choice in buffet lacking. Beachhouse restaurant (part of the buffet hived off for the evening) was great and food lovely, but there was a cover charge, than additional charges for some choices, so two cover charges which was excessive. Other restaurants all worth a try but cover charges apply. Entertainment was very lacking, with Brodies bar too small to accommodate all who wanted to have a go at the quizes (no where near enough of these) and the live lounge had Pulse, who were good, but only played 45 mins at a time then stopped, and out came the taped music for 30 mins then they came on for another 45 mins then that was it (must have a great union rep). Some of the guest entertainers should have been on at the theatre not the live lounge as the seating was lacking. Up on deck there were millions of sunbeds, all full on sea days as despite a no reserve policy, it was still allowed, so half sunbeds just empty with towels on them. The crow's nest at the top / front of the ship was great, with panoramic views and a bar. Only problem was the bar was shut all day, so no drinks available if you wanted to relax and read there. Two of our biggest grips 1. no central stairs and 2 no promenade deck so you can't walk all around the ship. Cookery club was nice, and for £45 or so you can get a professional lesson. I did the pasta lesson with Lizzy, and it was well worth doing. Unfortunately not a lot else going on during the day. Gym small but functional, and staff as usual more interested in talking to each other than giving you advice, but if you know what you are doing ok. Embarkation was a shambles, with times given but not kept, so we all got off together, and no trolleys available to wheel your luggage. The staff stood watching as we all struggled to carry our bags, with that disinterested seen it all before look on their faces. In summary, this ship is not as good as the older ships in terms of design or facilities, and staff are not as well trained. This is a ship designed by accountants to extract money, and ram as many punters in as possible. It will be interesting next year to see if P&O can sell it for a second year now people have tried it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Despite my husbands grumbling at having to pay a cover charge, we ate at the Beach House , Glass House and Sindhu , each was worth every penny the food was excellent and the service was outstanding. We only ate in the main dinning hall ... Read More
Despite my husbands grumbling at having to pay a cover charge, we ate at the Beach House , Glass House and Sindhu , each was worth every penny the food was excellent and the service was outstanding. We only ate in the main dinning hall twice the food was good. The price of wine on board was reasonable however if you were drinking spirits the cost soon added up if you had two double gins and a tonic each it was almost £15. I think if your doubling up they should charge just an extra £1 or £2 not the full price again. Children s drinks packages was £35 for 20 drinks and a choice of coke or lemonade and they were given a small paper card which the drinks were knocked off as they used it , this is prone to getting wet ,torn or lost, I believe a small daily charge for drinks per child applied to your room bill would be a better idea and a greater selection for them orange, shirley temples , mocktails etc, In fact a daily charge for an adult drinks package would be good too. We enjoyed the entertainment in the Live Lounge and went to a couple of shows in the Theatre a Michael Buble and a Take That tribute bands we enjoyed them both. We have two teenage sons who came with us and they were disappointed with the lack of facilities on board, the Teenage only Plunge pool at the aft of the ship is no bigger than a large Jacuzzi , therefore none of them used it , the two Jacuzzi's and the two small main pools on the sun deck were no way big enough to allow for 3000+ passengers . Both boys want to go on the Anthem of the Seas next time. Service on board was excellent and our room was as we expected. Why are the costs for the photograph packages so high? I don't feel that this represents good value for money. Overall we all had a good holiday but the ship lacked the WOW factor. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The price for two cabins were over priced as we were given cabins on the front of ship with port holes only. Cabins 5003 5001 Two Adults and three children. Cabins very dark . We were advised of children's club when booking only to ... Read More
The price for two cabins were over priced as we were given cabins on the front of ship with port holes only. Cabins 5003 5001 Two Adults and three children. Cabins very dark . We were advised of children's club when booking only to find upon our arrival on the ship that they had indeed a kids club but the children had to be accompanied by an adult at all times. Rather defeated the whole object !!!! Main Restaurant staff excellent and professional . Palm café and breakfast was very sub standard and staff tended to rush you out very quickly. Very little extras in the room other than shower gal and hand wash. The staff in the bar area 11th floor were very slow and although not busy we had to wait to be severed on and average of 25 minutes One port La Rochelle, that we arrived at, we had to wait for a shuttle bus to take us in area out of the port for one hour only to find that we had to wait another 45 minutes to get on a bus to take us into the town the day was nearly over. We had only one hour in the town centre as the boat was leaving early. We shall be looking for another cruise line next time!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Just back from cruise and feel disappointed for the first time with this company. Although there was some great aspects to the ship such as i-fly, and the bumping cars, a lot of personal service has been lost. Due to the number of ... Read More
Just back from cruise and feel disappointed for the first time with this company. Although there was some great aspects to the ship such as i-fly, and the bumping cars, a lot of personal service has been lost. Due to the number of passengers of the ship it really was a fight for survival at times - getting sun beds around the small pool was a task in itself. I counted approximately 100 beds immediately around the poolside - nowhere near enough for over 4000 guests. Therefore if you arrived any later than 7.30 am you had no bed around this vicinity. Pool was always overcrowded and indeed unsafe for swimmers. Waiters did not get to know you to provide that personal service that RC is renowned for and on a few occasions our room was not even cleaned in the evening as they arrived when I was going to bed - 10.45pm - not that early! Some staff seemed inexperienced or just merely exhausted from the vast content of their work. Best meal was served in Chops Grille - however this came at an extra cost. Most evening entertainment was generally of a high standard - although a comedian on the 12th night was terrible - we felt embarrassed for him! Bought some photographs on board but feel cost has greatly increased - all photos are put on a CD and then an additional charge to print off photo and no case for presentation! We had a good holiday but not a WOW time - over priced for what was offered. It certainly did not feel like a 5 Star holiday - more a 3 star! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Having reading many poor reviews on here in recent weeks regarding the Explorer I must say I was very concerned prior to sailing. The so call 'refurbishment' of the Adventure last year was barely evident but I was assured when ... Read More
Having reading many poor reviews on here in recent weeks regarding the Explorer I must say I was very concerned prior to sailing. The so call 'refurbishment' of the Adventure last year was barely evident but I was assured when booking that the Explorer was going into dry dock for over a month and yes, I have to agree that the refurbishment was evident with new carpets, curtains & TV in the room. New furniture was evident in Windjammers as well as in other entertainment areas. Overall very impressed with the work that had been done. Our room, a balcony cabin, was spotless and a distinct improvement to other RCI ships we have been on thanks to the refurb. Unlike some other comments in reviews we had no trouble getting served at bars or by the walking barmen who walking miles around the pool deck and lounges taking orders. Difficulty getting a sunbed on cruising days was obvious but only because some people think they can stroll down at midday and stumble across an empty bed three metres away from the pool! Welcome to the real world, just as in hotels, cruise ships have limited numbers of loungers, get up earlier and get your bottom on a bed by 10am - if you cant do that then don't moan when there isn't any left. Main problem in the pool area was young children, left to run wild whilst their parents, totally oblivious to their own offspring, topped up their tans. One couple actively encouraged their child to kick a football around the pool area - there is a sports deck up above, get off your backside and take him up there to kick the ball!! Another couple just left both their children to run around the ship sliding down bannisters and generally being a nuisance whilst they participated in every quiz possible or drank their own body weight in bottled beer by the pool, how one of the children was not found floating upside down in a pool is a miracle. Of course RCI are too politically correct to pull the parents up about it - the other cruisers who have paid for a peaceful holiday will just have to put up with it. Next year we are flying from Barcelona, having sailed from Southampton 3 times now it is obvious Southampton appeals to an upmarket Butlins class of young families. Cruise Director was awful, appeared to have little experience of the job, many of the audience exiting as soon as he appeared. His entertainments team were no better, young kids themselves . One made a complete mess of a quiz and couldn't even work the ipod from which she got the songs, not once apologising just tutted and blamed the ipod. No complaints with the food but every dining experience ruined by youngsters yet again, allowed to dine in groups, creating havoc around them whilst parents enjoy their meal at the other end of the ship. All in all the ship lacked atmosphere, it was 'just existing' for want of a better expression. Plenty to do and plenty of room to do it from what we could see. Holiday was basically let down by poor entertainment organisation and unfortunately having to share the ship with numerous parents who didn't want to spend their time with their own children. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Unfortunately we got off to a bad start due to being kept waiting outside for over an hour in the hit sunshine because the walk way wasn't working. The ship looked very impressive and being new everything inside, apart from the pool ... Read More
Unfortunately we got off to a bad start due to being kept waiting outside for over an hour in the hit sunshine because the walk way wasn't working. The ship looked very impressive and being new everything inside, apart from the pool tables, were still in perfect condition. The main shows, We Will Rock You, The Gift and Spectres Cabaret were all well delivered. Wonderland was a fantastic experience in weird and wacky food. The complimentary restaurants, apart from Silk, did not live up to 'normal' cruise cuisine. As you choose where you eat I felt the service was poor and lacked the familiarity of having same waiters throughout the cruise. Silk however I felt was the best. We had a fabulous waiter, Arvin, who took great care in helping us choose food and made it a special meal. The daily entertainment was all very similar and nothing interesting or different. Not sure Joff was up to his usual power as we have sailed on two other occasions with him and he has been fantastic. We had a few marvellous evenings of entertainment:- Jonathan Wilkes, and the ventriloquist, Gareth Oliver, were the best. Rock the boat were great to go to the Music Hall to hear. The ports of call were good and at all ports it was easy to do on your own. My husband loved the ifly and spent a lot of his time there and this certainly made his cruise experience. Overall, I did not get the WOW factor I was expecting and feel RCI have dulled down their customer service as many of the employees were overworked. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The view from the 'pod' illustrated the worst thing about the cruise which was that from up high the upper deck looked like Benidorm on a bad day... this ship has huge amounts going for it (as below) but i think we had 4,500 ... Read More
The view from the 'pod' illustrated the worst thing about the cruise which was that from up high the upper deck looked like Benidorm on a bad day... this ship has huge amounts going for it (as below) but i think we had 4,500 passengers on board (?) - with 3,500 it would a paradise at sea. Any search for a comfy seat in the sun was 1 star not 5 experience. Horrible really - never even went near a pool in 2 weeks. How they thought they'd get away with the numbers I've no idea... you'd think they'd never designed a cruise ship before! (Though the 2 70 area especially (and others) superb - a reminder that they have designed before and very well) It also felt like it had filled up late with (Brits especially) taking advantage of cheap last minute offers ... and though I didn't see a single issue re bad behaviour it really didn't make for a 'posh cruise' vibe. Those that like to dress for dinner etc ... well have spoken below. On the plus side entertainment options were excellent and the food too considering how many they were catering for. Booking in was a disaster because of the failed bridge and computer glitches proliferated but queuing was never too bad (except for getting back on at Lisbon!) ... and service was always with a smile. (Cabin staff especially friendly). The ports of call (other than "Rome" and Gibraltar) really lovely... Cadiz and Lisbon esp gorgeous. The most 'mixed bag' of a holiday I've ever taken. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
First of all, I’d like to mention that this was our first experience with RCI. Before we’ve cruised with NCL and Celebrity. Positive experiences: - Entertainment for bigger kids; like the Flow Rider, tennis tables, the Mini Golf ... Read More
First of all, I’d like to mention that this was our first experience with RCI. Before we’ve cruised with NCL and Celebrity. Positive experiences: - Entertainment for bigger kids; like the Flow Rider, tennis tables, the Mini Golf and the shows on ice. - Service in de MDR. This always depends on the waiters. We were very lucky to have Dwi and Suyanto (deck 5 My Time Dining). They remembered our preferences, were very cheerful, friendly and lovely for our 9-yr old son. The best waiters ever! - Seating possibilities in the Wind Jammer: no matter how busy, we could always find a seat for 5. Last year we did have trouble finding seats on the Celebrity Equinox, but not this year. - State room was clean (accept under the bed). The state attendant was nice, made towel animals (for us at first) which were very appreciated by our son. - No long lines at the bar in de Wind Jammer. Last year it was a drama getting fresh orange juice in the morning, now things went smoothly. - Embarking and disembarking went very fast and easy. Negative experiences: - No water in the two main swimming pools during the last two sea days. When you have kids, they can’t swim at all because they are not allowed in the adult pool. - Not a possibility to sit and have a drink in the evening. To many people, to few (really a few) seats/tables. - The toilets in the public places (like at the Wind Jammer/pool deck) are old and dated. In two toilets you can’t turn your butt while closing the door. And my butt is small. Also, the toilets were used by the staff. Never saw that before. - You cannot trust the port information in your daily ‘cruise compass’. For Marseille they wrote that there was a free shuttle service to the city. We walked a long time in the burning hot sun (heatwave) and finally arrived at the shuttle stop. With a lot of other people. We’ve waited and waited, then got the news that the shuttle only runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was Monday…… Thanks RCI! - The food on formal night didn’t change in the MDR. Celebrity changes the menu on that night to something special, a higher standard. With RCI it stays the same. - Small or no choice of vegetables for children in the MDR. Mostly carrots. - Tendering in Villefranche. Oh what a fiasco. They used only two or three tender boots to offload 3000 people. We waited for hours and hours, and yes we had tender tickets and no, not the last ones... We went to Guest Services to ask what the problem was. There was a long line of very mad people with the same question. They said that they would write down our complaint, but that didn’t solve the problem. By the time we could get of the ship, more than half the day was past, so we didn’t get the change to do what we wanted. Sorry, but a tendering process that takes more than 5 hours is a failure. We visited Villefranche exactly a year ago with the Celebrity Equinox and we got off immediately. Reason: ENOUGH tender boots! Simple! Did RCI tender for the first time?? I think you can estimate the number of people getting off and plan the number of tender boots you have to use. Summary: We enjoyed the beautiful city’s like Malaga, Lisbon and Gibraltar. We enjoyed the food, the facilities and the friendly staff. We do not regret our choice to cruise with the Explorer. Every ship and cruise line has its pros and cons. Overall it was fine. The Explores is not our favorite ship, but not bad at all. The negative points are given because this is a review. I keep in mind that we travel in luxury, especially compared to most people in the world. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Being of Diamond Plus status we have cruised with RCCL since 1995 and so looking forward to Anthem of The Seas 14 Med Cruise. Although embarkation was excellent, generally the rest leaves a lot to be desired so lets go through it step by ... Read More
Being of Diamond Plus status we have cruised with RCCL since 1995 and so looking forward to Anthem of The Seas 14 Med Cruise. Although embarkation was excellent, generally the rest leaves a lot to be desired so lets go through it step by step Pool - Chaos, 6 am or earlier to guarantee a sunbed which was literally attached to the one next to you. A rule that if the sun bed was left for more than 30 minutes then towels and possessions would be removed to free the sun bed for other guests. This rule was not consistent to the extent where a Father and his three daughters were in the pool when the Pool staff attempted to remove their towels etc until the Father intervened only to be told he was not using the sunbed yet he was in the pool, crazy. Pool Staff - More interested in what was on view on the Big Screen rather than concentrating on the duties. Pool Bar Staff - Conspicuous by their non existence at times. Bars - In general there was a lack of staff and lack of bar waiters Dining - Dynamic Dining I get the idea but it needs working at, we pre-booked all dining prior to the cruise but there was always a problem locating our reservation. What was not a problem for one Waiter was a problem another night for another Waiter in the same Dining Room ie Silk, Chic, American Icon, and it was simply requesting a Pizza for the Grandson, the kids menu was very basic all round. Stateroom- Owners Suite with balcony was Excellent Crew- In general were okay however, always got the impression they were doing you a big favour, there certainly was not the WOW effect here, whereas on previous cruises the crew staff could not do enough for you, probably because its pre-paid gratuities nowadays and they always expect a bit more!! the envelopes still appear on the bed on the last day. Teenagers- No control up in the Sea Plex area, teens running riot, this area will need refurbishment before anywhere. Messing with the Elevators, congregating in groups at the top of the stairs. I think we in the UK and Europe are used as Guinea Pigs for the new ships to get it right before they go to the States, the Americans will not stand for this type of service or behaviour. Could go on... In conclusion great looking Ship, too many cut-backs, too much attitude and not enough attention to detail. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The ship itself is a technological wonder from the Bionic Bar to the Vistarama and Virtual Concerts and Spectra's cabaret etc in Two70 - other entertainment was great too although there didn't seem to be any sailaways like there ... Read More
The ship itself is a technological wonder from the Bionic Bar to the Vistarama and Virtual Concerts and Spectra's cabaret etc in Two70 - other entertainment was great too although there didn't seem to be any sailaways like there are on other ships. We had a superior ocean view cabin with balcony which was nice but narrow compared to similar cabins we have had on other cruises and which I was surprised about. With a disabled husband and all his equipment we did struggle a bit which we have never found before. The bathroom was well appointed and the shower was good. Our steward Dennis was absolutely great and helped us immensely. We had no complaints about the food but were never informed about the Classic option of dining either by RCL or our travel agents which would have been very helpful. Luckily I had booked our restaurants on line before but it would have been nice to be with the same people every night as well. Jamies Restaurant was good but expensive. We would however agree with other comments about the service which was definitely patchy and especially in the Windjammer where dirty plates and glasses were left for ages before being cleared. I think one of the biggest problems was the lack of sufficient crew which certainly showed when trying to keep the very many unruly children from wreaking havoc around the ship, This really manifested itself around the main pool with kids constantly jumping into the pool despite notices against this and in one case there were three teenagers hoisting another one aloft and throwing him across the pool. The sole pool attendant's comment was that he had spoken many times and they had ignored him - not good enough I'm afraid which led me for the first time in my many cruises to make an official complaint. They also ran riot in the lifts pressing every button they could and even very small children were going up and down in the lifts without supervision. They also congregated in the stairwells playing music on several occasions late at night but no one appeared to do anything about it. Not all the children were misbehaved however but I am ashamed to say that it was the British contingent who were the worst. Avoid the internet package which I found very expensive and frequently not working at all despite the many adverts for its high speed quality. For two days I could not access the Royal iQ at all and even going onto the web was exceedingly hit and miss - definitely not value for money. The shops were OK but had too many of the high end outlets like Bulgari which I'm not sure would have been of interest to many of the people on board. Finally I might add in passing that all the points I have made above were endorsed by most other passengers that we came in contact with. The staff were very good but there were not enough of them to make this a memorable voyage. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Having been on Independance last year for our first cruise we were excited about this new ship . The ship itself is beautiful but the deck areas were dreadful not enough water and Also too much indoor bathing! . We also found the whole of ... Read More
Having been on Independance last year for our first cruise we were excited about this new ship . The ship itself is beautiful but the deck areas were dreadful not enough water and Also too much indoor bathing! . We also found the whole of the boat seemed to get up at 6 to put towels on du beds then not use them this went unaddressed for the first 12 days the kids on board were just left to run riot with no perental control and staff on board seemed to have no powers to stop it . The restaurants on board were ok we only went to the Grande once food and service was very poor . The food was like warm and they were understaffed . We found the food at the windjammer to be better than most restaurants. The best meals we had and the best service was in the solaruim bistro it was a very welcoming atmosphere. The shows were good but the comics were tired and not at all funny think they need to refresh the acts ! . The shopping on board was very poor unless you were very rich and needed a watch . Stateroom was nice and our cabin lady was fantastic. Wouldn't go on this boat again not worth all the hype or money . Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
As usual we set off the day before as we come from Yorkshire so it's a long drive. We stayed at the De Vere New Place, which is a lovely hotel. However, it was difficult to find and was further out from Southampton than we would have ... Read More
As usual we set off the day before as we come from Yorkshire so it's a long drive. We stayed at the De Vere New Place, which is a lovely hotel. However, it was difficult to find and was further out from Southampton than we would have liked. It would have been a lovely base for a holiday in the area. Parking - turned out to be a shuttle (I only properly read the documents on our way from the hotel!). It added about half an hour on to the journey to and from the ship but was well-organised and we would be Ok with using this service again. The cruise - I had mixed feelings about this cruise, so am splitting the review into positives and negatives: this is based mostly on our own personal likes/dislikes so other people will have differing views. So, I will get the negatives out of the way first. What we disliked Deck 5 outside – not a true promenade deck, can't walk round the whole deck, nowhere to get close to the ocean and look out for wildlife, very few deck chairs Decks 4 and 5 inside – too many expensive shops, market stalls selling the usual rubbish, very little view of the sea Solarium – too warm and humid, lots of water but another pool would have been better swimming pools – not enough for so many passengers, difficult to get a proper swim Lifts – seemed to be more frustrating than usual Big screen – not easy to get a good view/rubbish choice of films Dining rooms – too dark unless you were in the half near the windows Dynamic dining – frustrating trying to book/change a booking Food – biggie for us as we are vegetarian, so very little choice (if at all), never sure if what we were eating was vegetarian, told to book 24 hours in advance if we didn't fancy what was on the menu, but this was impossible due to being unable to book a table (RCI have responded swiftly to our complaint and promised they are going to be more veggie-friendly, with immediate effect so hopefully we won't have problems in future) Disembarkation (NOT the fault of RCI) – we chose to disembark ourselves as we have a long journey from Southampton. Lots of other people had the same idea so there were queues for the only two lifts but no-one was complaining. The two ladies in charge were grumbling that the ship should not encourage independent disembarkation and questioning why people needed to be in such a rush on a Saturday – not the best example of customer service or UK hospitality and well below what you would expect for the main UK cruise terminal What we liked Embarkation – quick and easy Our stateroom (11528) – lots of space, fluffy towels and bathrobes, lovely bathroom Our Cabin Steward (Orwin) Lots of places inside to chill out Dodgems North Star Half-price cocktails during Happy Hour 270 The library Most of the entertainment La Patisserie Ports of call On balance, we were disappointed and wouldn't go back on the Anthem but as I said at the start, these are our personal preferences Ports visited Gibraltar – been many times. This time we walked round the Marina and took a dolphin tour which turned out to be a very expensive boat ride – apparently there were dolphins, but unless you were at the front of the boat and had a strong pair of binoculars, you stood no chance of seeing them. I understand that sightings are not guaranteed but some information about the dolphins and other sealife in the area would have been welcome. After that we did our usual wander through the town to buy our duty free allowance – Gibraltar is the best place for alcohol purchases. Cartagena – unfortunately I had left all the information I needed at home and the Tourist office wasn't open when we got off the ship, so we wandered about, had a coffee and a look at the amphitheatre. I'm sure we didn't do it justice Civitaveccia – we took the shuttle bus to the port entrance then a bus to the station (80 cents each). We crossed the road to the beach and bars and the local market and just wandered about: we were very impressed but next time we may be braver and take the train to Rome. There is a lido which we didn't know about which we will visit next time. After a lunch at one of the many bars, we strolled back to the ship – 20 minutes and very easy. La Spezia Surprise of the cruise. The ship docks in the town – we thought it was a tender port. A 10 minute stroll to the marina brought us to the boat trips so we booked to Portovenere (thanks to whoever on our roll call mentioned this, I would never have thought about it). Half hour trip and 8 Euros each and we had a fantastic day out. We found a back street with shops and bars, one of which had a terrace overlooking the sea. I would love to spend a few days here. I noticed that there were buses from the quayside to Florence and also a tourist land-train around the town. Cassis This was the only RCI trip we did though for the same price we could have got a taxi and had more freedom. We had 3 hours in Cassis and could easily have spent longer. We had a quick guided tour as we drove through Marseilles and on the way back, stopped at a viewing point overlooking Cassis and the coast. This trip, along with others, wasn't listed on the website prior to the cruise so it's worth picking up the booklet from the Excursions Desk, although they only announced the shuttle into Marseilles the day before we docked. Cadiz Lovely port but you need a map and you will still get lost. We were fortunate enough to catch some street music in the square near the Town Hall so saw genuine flamenco and cante jondo. We didn't do it, but there are free guided walks from the Town Hall in the afternoons. We followed one of the routes painted on the pavements but weren't very impressed with the route we took. We had a quick lunch in the Cathedral Square – there's a bar on the corner which is cheap and cheerful and on some days, everything is a euro. Lisbon We hadn't intended doing much as Lisbon isn't our favourite port. However we went for a stroll and came across the Yellow Boat trip so had a lovely view of Lisbon from the river. You can get off at the first stop (I think it was Almeida) then get on one of the other boats later. (The trip reminded me a bit of the Mersey Ferry): there was a commentary in various languages including English. I can't remember how much it cost, but it's worth the money. Vigo Again, we've been many times. I would have liked to have taken a boat across to Cangas but the timings were a bit tight. We wandered through the town (old and new) and ended up at the Barracca Bar which we'd visited the previous year. This is well worth a visit – clean, friendly (although they don't speak much English) and exceptionally cheap – you also get free cake/croissants/crisps with your drinks. To find the bar, cross over the main road and follow the road round in the direction of the old town: it takes about 7 minutes to walk – it's visible from the bottom of the street (it's called something like Rua Leopold) Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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