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240 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

First, let me say this was my first time on RCCL as I wanted to try out this brand. I've travelled with Celebrity, Princes and P&O in the last year. The ship is clean, big and accommodation was good. We had a balcony on the hump. ... Read More
First, let me say this was my first time on RCCL as I wanted to try out this brand. I've travelled with Celebrity, Princes and P&O in the last year. The ship is clean, big and accommodation was good. We had a balcony on the hump. Food was ok, a bit bland and reflected the mass market catering. It will never win any prizes for taste. Ports were good, although the tender at Cannes was a nightmare, taking over an hour to get on a tender. Entertainment was ok, although some was very amaturish, but most seemed to enjoy. I found the staff very friendly. Treat people as you would want to be treated yourself and all will be well. The main pools were busy, noisy and full of unsupervised kids. I actually saw a toddler struggling with her water wings whilst her parents lay on their sun beds. There were too many passengers on cheap holidays drinking all day and night while their kids ran around. Given this was not school holiday time, I'd hate to be on IOTS in the summer. I had a great holiday, but RCCL from the UK is not for me. This has nothing to do with the brand as I thought it good, but the passenger mix was such that it made for interesting people watching. One bloke told me as he was stuffing his face from his plate in the buffet while continuing to fill his plate, that this was better than Benidorm; free food all day & night and unlimited booze from his drinks package & believe me he was not joking. Sometimes I felt as though I was paddling in the shallow end of the gene pool. Unsure if RCCL is the same from non UK ports, but until I'm convinced otherwise It's back to Princess and Celebrity for me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
First of all the ship itself is beautiful, the staterooms are well appointed and bathrooms adequate. What let the ship down was the niggardly approach to food, you had to request smoked salmon and when you did, you were served a minuscule ... Read More
First of all the ship itself is beautiful, the staterooms are well appointed and bathrooms adequate. What let the ship down was the niggardly approach to food, you had to request smoked salmon and when you did, you were served a minuscule portion! Sandwiches were a disgrace, thick white bread, spread with margarine and with fillings so sprayed on you could not tell what they were at all! Cream tea was a disappointment, no clotted cream here only whipped stuff. None of the advertised white glove service either. Service was mixed. We ate in the Britannia restaurant and had wonderful waiters who really looked after us but I think we were lucky. When we had lunch in there the service was slow and indifferent. The food was okay but not great and there was no everyday choice you could have if the menu did not appeal. There was very little in the way of pleasant service around the ship, surly was the best description, especially in the Pursers Office where one was met with a blank expression more often than not. Most requests were a bit too much trouble. All in all we enjoyed our cruise but Cunard need not consider themselves the gold standard, they are very much par for the course cruise wise. It's a shame really, a proud Britsh name has been weakened by American ownership and bean counting. Don't pay top dollar for Cunard any more. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Boarding the ship was easy and straightforward. Our stateroom was excellent very clean and tidy. Our cases were delivered to the stateroom no problem. My son and his partner had booked their cruise in November; they also care for his ... Read More
Boarding the ship was easy and straightforward. Our stateroom was excellent very clean and tidy. Our cases were delivered to the stateroom no problem. My son and his partner had booked their cruise in November; they also care for his stepbrother who has downs syndrome. We booked 3 weeks before sailing and never told them that we were on the cruise. The first they knew was I phoned their stateroom, they were out somewhere so I left a cryptic message said we are here where are you. We then phoned their mobile and left and did not leave a message did it 3 times, we then went to Sorrento's on 5 and had a tea, while there they phoned our mobile and we invited them to join us for a cuppa the surprise was worthwhile. Our first problem arose when we went to dinner in the King Lear restaurant our waiter asked if we would like juice, I said yes please and asked for pineapple, sorry sir we do not do pineapple, my wife asked for a tomato juice, sorry madam we do not do tomato juice, my sons girlfriend asked for a grapefruit juice sorry madam we do not do grapefruit juice, he then told us we could have orange juice my wife asked if there was an alternative and he then said I can get apple juice, So my son had orange Juice my wife had apple juice, Deborah and Neil(Downs) had water, I had nothing, I only drink tea or pineapple juice. Other incidents were to follow with food these were, the next morning we went to breakfast in Romeo and Juliet Deck 3, as it was self-service but in comfort. I looked all around could not see any fried eggs, asked for fried eggs and was told they are only served in Macbeth Deck 4 or The Windjammer deck 11, I then noticed that the sausages were not very well cooked neither was the bacon, so I asked if I could have some that was cooked more, again I was told I would have to use the Windjammer to get that, so I decided that I would have some beans on toast, the toast was all precooked and kept lukewarm in a pan over hot water, this made the toast watery took a slice, went to the beans they were only lukewarm as well but I gave it a try, had a small mouthful and gave that up. I finished having some pineapple and a bit of watermelon, I followed this with two slice of fruit bread (small) that was good and a cup of tea, all the others managed, Neil had his favourite food croissants and salmon. Lunchtime came around we went to the Windjammer, I searched the whole are to find Neil a croissant I spoke to one of the staff and asked where they were and his reply we only serve them for breakfast, so I asked him if he would be kind enough to get me 2 he replied he was not allowed to get them. So after that we had to pick up four in the morning and wrap up two for lunchtime The evening meal in The King Lear was just about passable though we still could not get everything we asked for, except they did Neil really proud he asked for mussels they did not have them that evening but they did get him some for the next day that was the only real plus I could give the whole 14 days for food and drink. The following morning we went to the Windjammer for breakfast, asked for 2 fried eggs and while they were doing that could they do me 2 sausages well done and 2 slices of bacon well done, that took almost 25 minutes to get together, so gave that idea up as a bad one the rest of the family had finished their breakfast as I got mine. We then tried Macbeth for breakfast the 3rd morning they did fried eggs sort of but the bacon and sausages were not cooked how I like, it was waiter service, so you could not get everything they had on the other decks. So breakfasts were a disaster, Lunch was ok on four out of the 14 days; three were nearly passable dinner in the evening was sometimes nearly ok In the Windjammer one lunchtime, Debbie went to put a desert on to her plate and the server took the tray away and said sorry we are now closed. Fortunately I was standing nearby and saw it and told him to put it back while she took some, it took a little bit of arguing but he did in the end. There were other bits to many to mention all silly niggling things that should not happen So sadly our cruise was ruined by very poor service on a ship that is supposed to be in a class of its own I for one will not be using Royal Caribbean for another cruise To put all my wrongs here would take a couple of pages. Do not want to bore you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I went for Christmas on the Oceana - The First Disappointment for me was " No Texas Hold um " Poker Table - ok, Maybe I Should have Researched it Before I Went , But as this was my 12th Cruise I thought that like all the other ... Read More
I went for Christmas on the Oceana - The First Disappointment for me was " No Texas Hold um " Poker Table - ok, Maybe I Should have Researched it Before I Went , But as this was my 12th Cruise I thought that like all the other Cruise’s I Have been on, that Oceana would have this Very Popular game on Board , Anyway lets move on , The food in the plaza etc , was Not nice , same stuff everyday - Boring !... The Food in the Jardine ? was ok, but the Service was very Poor, No one seemed to know what you had ordered or who you had ordered from ? ... The evening meal And Service was good in the Britanica, but still lacking a bit compared to all the other Cruise ships that i’ve been on , ie RCL - CUNARD - PRINCESS The people that seemed to say that they liked Everything about Oceana and p&o in general, had not been with any Other cruise lines ! “ that says it all " - Entertainment was ok ! And the Entertainment staff was good ! but most of the crew was not very pleasant - except Christopher in Winners Bar - A great guy - he is happy in his job ! just to finish, before I left home my daughter gave me money to have my hair cut in the ships spa , The cut was Not Good , But I did get a refund on the last day ... £51, 70p Knocked off my final bill . Anyway i’m glad to be home ... hope you all had a good Christmas - And best wishes for 2014, xxx Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We were taking our daughter for her first Mediterranean cruise and joining two British couples for this much anticipated cruise. The ports were for the most part good...Cadiz was a waste and Barcelona was insanely crowded for mid ... Read More
We were taking our daughter for her first Mediterranean cruise and joining two British couples for this much anticipated cruise. The ports were for the most part good...Cadiz was a waste and Barcelona was insanely crowded for mid September. The food in the dining room was substandard. We were told several times that Royal Caribbean had spent 13 million dollars on a new menu. They should have left the menu alone. This was our 20th cruise with RC and by far the worst for the food. We only went to four of the shows and only one was good. We have seen the same acts time after time. Apparently they have trouble getting new entertainers. The Royal Caribbean singers and dancers are talented but the shows are virtually the same from cruise to cruise. There are two jacuzzis in the Solarium and every evening one of them was closed. There was a teapot in the room but you could not make coffee; it must be ordered from room service. The ship was clean and well maintained and the captain was terrific. The cruise director's staff for the most part were very good. This is our second time on Adventure of the Seas and a few things need work. The miniature golf course was not in good shape and greens need to be replaced. We never found the diamond lounge and the reception for Crown and Anchor members is a waste of time. There was a sewage smell at one end of the ship the entire cruise. There are additional charges for most everything including ice cream which can be had at dinner for free. We love cruising but are looking at alternative cruise lines for future cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We embarked from Southampton and as always check in quite well organised and quickly on board - apart from a technical glitch at the check in terminals but can't be helped. Proceeded to our cabin only to be greeted by a cabin full of ... Read More
We embarked from Southampton and as always check in quite well organised and quickly on board - apart from a technical glitch at the check in terminals but can't be helped. Proceeded to our cabin only to be greeted by a cabin full of visitors who were being shown round the ship! They proceeded to tell US how much we had paid for the cabin (the lady doing the tour had told them how much) before disappearing. They were soon followed by another group ..... anyway it seems we were "too early" for the cabin and had to endure countless people wandering round the room before we got it all to ourselves. Anyway, that out the way - we were disappointed with the size of the room - half the size of the equivalent one on RCI. Having said that, bathroom was a great size with a spa bath and large shower. I will just list the rest of the points I want to make to avoid rambling on: - cabin staff wonderful and very attentive and a joy to have around - cabin clean and well maintained - facilities in the cabin great - coffee machine, endless tea and coffee making products and biscuits - restaurant staff brilliant and service faultless - food in Bay Tree restaurant amazing and loved every meal - ports we visited were lovely and although cut short on two occasions (3.30 pm departures) were pleasant. Can't comment on excursions as we went solo. - drinks a reasonable cost and comparable to a normal pub price - didn't really encounter problem obtaining sun lounger however they are crammed in so close to each other you have to get on and off the end unless you are crafty enough to move it and put a table between you and the next one - gym facilities were great although disappointed there was only a couple of classes available and no Zumba as previous cruisers had mentioned Negatives: - unless you like art lectures/wandering round the few shops on board/playing bingo there is not much to do on board for adults. The gym was a godsend as on sea days I would have been climbing the walls. - the Ventura is advertised as a family ship - there were adequate facilities for the younger children but (and I do realise that older teens are hard to entertain anyway) there seemed to be a lot of mid teens running about the ship, sitting on the stairs, generally mooching about - my son had a look at the entertainment for his age group (he is 14) and none of it had any kind of appeal to him. Whilst I realise this is personal choice, judging by the number of 14 year olds running about on the ship they didn't have much appeal to them either. - the TV in the cabin had basic channels on (BBC world news, CNBC) but was dismayed that a lot of the movies (old ones at that ...) you had to pay to view! They had two episodes of a couple of dramas from a good few years ago that were free along with I think 5 movies but you had to pay for the rest (1.99 per movie). - the layout of the ship is very confusing compared to other ships we have been on. It seems very disjointed - for example to get to the Bay Tree restaurant (which is clearly indicated as being on Deck 6) you have to go to the back of the ship, go up to deck 7, then go down again to Deck 6 as there is no direct access from the relevant deck. However, due to the extra miles I put in getting lost for the whole ten days, I came back having gained only two pounds even after all that fantastic food so can't complain :0) All in all, disappointed with the cruise as we paid a lot of money for the cabin and for the same price on Royal Caribbean we felt we got a lot more for our money. Sorry P & O - just didn't feel luxurious at all - felt like corners had been cut in many areas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Silverseas reputation can only be tarnished by its continued use of the Silver Cloud. For starters, it is the noisiest ship on which we have ever sailed. Our cabin was located on deck 5 forward on the port side. We might as well have ... Read More
Silverseas reputation can only be tarnished by its continued use of the Silver Cloud. For starters, it is the noisiest ship on which we have ever sailed. Our cabin was located on deck 5 forward on the port side. We might as well have been in the engine room. It was impossible to sleep because each time we docked the noise sounded like a bunch of pneumatic drills followed by a rolling earthquake that lasted for at least a half hour or, in some cases, longer. Only if you enjoyed sleeping in the afternoon could it have been called restful. The inside of our Veranda Suite was nicely appointed but only fit for sleep on days at sea. Jorge, Dining Room Manager, should be considered one of the best in the business for his willingness to be of assistance and his attention to the diners. He is outstanding. Apart from Jorge, the service aboard Silver Cloud was ordinary at best. There was hardly a moment we didn't long to be back on Crystal. The food itself was ordinary except for the Champagne and Relais (extra charge), but worth it. I was appalled to witness pool deck staff re-rolling towels used by passengers who had left and replacing them on the lounges. That's disgraceful. The cruise director, whose contract was up at the end of the cruise, was indifferent and seemed like she couldn't wait to get off. Silver Cloud is a small ship and while one doesn't expect the activities of larger vessels there seemed to be the bare minimum. For a 12-day cruise there was only one lecturer and no one ever lectured about the ports to which we were sailing. It would have been nice to hear someone with personal experience rather than receive printed material. The entertainment might charitably be described as average. This was Silverseas. Everything was supposed to be outstanding. It didn't come close.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our first cruise and we chose to go to the Italian Med on Independence of the Seas with another couple. Positives: Staff were friendly and food was good. The entertainment was good with a couple of exceptions. Joff Eaton (Cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we chose to go to the Italian Med on Independence of the Seas with another couple. Positives: Staff were friendly and food was good. The entertainment was good with a couple of exceptions. Joff Eaton (Cruise Director) was very good and thoroughly entertaining. The trips were well organised but would have liked to spent longer at some destinations. Negatives: 1. Not being able to use the pools due to many families with children hogging them. It would have been nice to have a swim after the hot trip days but we were only able to have a cool shower. I think there must have been a few Germans on board because there were many towels left on recliners which apparently was not allowed but this was not followed through. I would suggest that people who do not have children holiday during school times and then you might get a look in. 2. Paying extra for bottles of water, cappuccinos etc. 3. The lifts had a mind of their own and we had to wait a long time if we wanted to go to the top of the ship. It usually meant that we had to climb the stairs and take some time out to recover. 4. Reading their suggestions for tips was very amusing which if we followed these suggestions would have put a further 400 dollars on to our bill. A big TIP is as soon as you embark, go to the passenger services on deck 5 and ask for the gratuities to be removed from your final invoice as you will tip at the end of the cruise. We handed cash to the people who we felt deserved a tip at the end. Tips have to be earned not be automatically added. 5. Drinks prices were astronomical so beware. 6. Tiny closet in the cabin which means your clothes are crushed. Irons are not included in the cabins so you have to pay to have your clothes ironed and this is by no means cheap. Take enough underwear with you because a pair of pants costs $1.95 to be laundered. 7. Photographers seemed to follow us wherever we went. Before we went into dinner, the full length of the promenade and every time we disembarked. Be careful as the pictures are again very expensive to purchase. 8. We requested (on line when we booked the cruise) to be seated with our friends at the dining table. This was ignored and we had to queue at the passenger services desk to resolve this. There are a few more negatives but I think this is enough. It has not put us off cruising again but we will probably go with P & O who our friends have been with and could not fault. We will not cruise on this ship again.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was only our second sailing with RCI although we have done several Med cruises from Southampton with other lines. The embarkation was the smoothest I have ever encountered, there were plenty of staff around to help and the queue was ... Read More
This was only our second sailing with RCI although we have done several Med cruises from Southampton with other lines. The embarkation was the smoothest I have ever encountered, there were plenty of staff around to help and the queue was non-existent, before we knew it we were boarding the ship. We were told our rooms would be ready at about 2pm so we grabbed a snack from the Windjammer and enjoyed a peaceful hour sat near the pool people watching. The announcement about the rooms being available came earlier than the predicted 2pm which was a nice surprise. We had originally booked a Grand suite as our teenage son was going to be sharing with us and I knew I would find an ordinary balcony stateroom too small but at the last minute his older sister decided to join us so they ended up with an inside stateroom along the corridor and all of a sudden my husband and I had the luxury of a Grand suite all to ourselves! Our cabin was obviously very spacious although the balcony was much smaller than is offered with a GS on IOS. However I liked the fact that it was enclosed and private even though it was smaller although having one sunbed did seem a bit odd. Unfortunately, although our stateroom was clean it was obviously in need of a refurb. One of the sinks leaked badly in to the cupboard underneath, something I didn't discover until my toiletries were all soaked. On closer inspection I realised that the back of the cupboard was quite rotten so it had obviously been a problem for a while. The air-conditioning in the bathroom also leaked so we had to keep towels on the floor to prevent accidental slips. The kettle would only work if we stood there holding the button in all the time and opening and closing the drawers required muscles of steel and was so noisy I felt sorry for anyone underneath us. On top of this the soft furnishings and headboard were badly stained and there were a few nicks out of the furniture. The inside stateroom occupied by my children was actually in a much better state of repair but I was surprised to see that although they had a kettle they had no coffee maker or instant coffee and the only toiletries they had were a cheap, thin bar of soap and a shampoo/showergel combination. Our room steward was not very attentive. I think we are easy to look after guests, we are tidy and put everything away and usually make no requests. However by the third day I had to ask for teabags, to have the menu sheets changed in the folder, to have the glasses replaced that we had used on the first day etc. I think that these are basic roles and I should not have had to go and find him to ask for them, he never even actually introduced himself. The room steward for my children however was an absolute star, friendly and helpful as well as being extremely efficient. We had opted for My time dining and asked for a table for 4 which was always accommodated. We had the same staff every night, Whyte and Nareem who were brilliant. They remembered everyones preferences and were friendly without being over the top. Most of the food we had was very nice although I felt there was sometimes too much shellfish on the menu and it was a bit repetitive. On two occasions we had problems with our meal (cold meatballs and extremely undercooked chicken) and Nareem was there as soon as he spotted that we weren't enjoying our meals. We took our other meals in the Windjammer where we found there was a good selection of food although some of it could have done with being hotter. The staff were always friendly and helpful and would help you look for a seat if needed. I really don't think there is enough seating here for the size of the ship and breakfast on port days and lunch on seadays could get very hectic. We found the Cruise Director, Clo, and her staff very friendly and approachable. We enjoy quizzes and loved the fact that there were several every day and the staff were always happy to engage with their audience and made a good atmosphere. We enjoy going to the theatre in the evenings and on the whole we enjoyed most of the performances. We thought the iceshow was great too and we were surprised to find that we quite enjoyed watching the gameshows as well even though I wouldn't have said they were my thing! We found the evening flowed really well and there was always something we wanted to do. We are not drinkers and don't enjoy spending our evening just sat in a bar so we found that there was always something to entertain us on the Adventure. There were several musical combos on board including one duo where the guy was brilliant and the girl had the worst diction and stage presence that I have ever come across! My son and daughter both had a go at the rock climbing and the inline skating. As we had found on the IOS the staff were all chatty and helpful and were not at all condescending and really wanted to make sure people enjoyed their activities. The ice-skating times were very restrictive and were only available towards the end of the cruise and in the evenings which tended to coincide with meal times. My son tried one session but although he can skate well he said it was rowdy and there were people skating in opposite directions and he thought it was getting dangerous on such a small rink so didn't go again. The biggest disappointment on the cruise was actually the ports. I had chosen the itinerary as there were several ports that I hadn't been to before and it also included Barcelona which was on my bucket list. Another port that caught my eye was Malaga as I knew RCI ran excursions to Alhambra palace which I was desperate to see. However most of the ports were industrial and a long way from the towns, this is pretty inevitable but at $15 each for a shuttle bus this could get quite expensive. Luckily we had researched most ports and knew of local buses and shuttles that ran and were much cheaper but I feel that the cruise company almost hide this information for every port except Barcelona. We took a Gaudi tour in Barcelona which we really enjoyed although I felt it was a bit rushed. The problem with the rest of the ports was that they were all very similar, there was not much to do locally without taking excursions and since they all have the same history they have pretty much the same architecture and town layout as each other. Usually our itineraries have included an Italian port or maybe La Rochelle or Guernsey so there is more diversity than was available on this trip. When I studied the excursions from Malaga I found that they were not running one to Alhambra as the ship wasn't docked long enough, I was very disappointed when I found this out. Although I have mentioned that I felt our stateroom was rather tired I felt that the majority of ship looked in excellent condition and was always spotlessly clean. The only obvious signs of wear were on the seats in the Schooner and the Imperial lounge which were sometimes a little fragile! The lower deck area around the pool seemed to get very busy and the pool attendants did not do a very good job of policing their chair-hogging rule. One day we were on our sunbeds at 9am on a seaday. The 4 beds in front of us had towels and a few possessions on them already. Throughout the day we swapped and changed our beds with our children whilst we were in the pool or they were grabbing a meal etc. Over the course of the next 6 hours no-one came near the beds and only a little while later did we actually see the pool attendant decide to move the peoples stuff. The top deck usually had sunbeds available although it was quite breezy up there on some days. Overall we enjoyed our time on Adventure. I think she is the perfect size of ship for us and I really hope to sail on her again after she had been through dry-dock but I feel that RCI have left the refurb a little late and for the money that I spent on our Staterooms I feel that I should have had a better standard of accommodation.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
First cruise - and probably last one. First the good things: the organisation (apart from embarkation at S'hampton which was how I imagine arrivals at Ellis Island were handled)was excellent (excursions, disembarkation). The crew ... Read More
First cruise - and probably last one. First the good things: the organisation (apart from embarkation at S'hampton which was how I imagine arrivals at Ellis Island were handled)was excellent (excursions, disembarkation). The crew were without exception excellent in every way - special mention to Joao and Teresa in Macbeth dining room; to Selvin the cabin steward and Salvio in Boleros bar (great band there incidentally). There is a real sense that all of them care for you and care as to how you think about them and the service they provide. A sense they are proud of their ship - Independence of the Seas. The ship (boat) is pretty smart, and biggggg. Nice design throughout and clean. Food in main dining (evenings varied from good to excellent - mostly the latter. Cabin (so-called deluxe superior something or other with balcony and sea view, was very nice - clean and comfortable as was the balcony. The not-so-nice: outrageous prices for all alcoholic drinks - a captured audience, with not competition. Time the Competition Commission and Brussels did something here - they are operating in EU waters: $40 for a bottle of Wolf Blass! or for a very soapy Pinot Grigio. First time we have ever made a bottle of wine last over two dinner evenings - maybe that's it? RCI is trying to improve our health. No, cannot be that, given the Windjammer - a 24 hours eating hell-hole which attracts the already grossly obese and those who aspire to that condition. It could be called The Piggery to good effect. What else on the negative? Lack of lifts - especially given the large numbers of disabled with mobility scooters, some of whom are not shy at giving you a whack on the heels if you are up among the Jammerites scrabbling for a crust or two. If you are of an age where you have got rid of the kids and think this will be a rewarding way of having a kids-free holiday - forget it even in term time: RCI is pretty much switching to the young families model - and I imagine children (and their parents) would really love this. But it is not for the Blue Harbour mob and they will be disappointed. Back to positives: a good way to get a taste of a number of attractions in a short period of time: Gib, Toulon, Florence, Rome, Carthagena (a gem), Cadiz and Vigo. More negative stuff: So-called superior deluxe suite with balcony or some such description. Offence under Trade Descriptions Acts of most EU countries, I imagine. It was a very nice cabin, with a decent balcony, shower etc; a suite it was not; superior I suppose to ones that were lower on the price rung. If your neighbour smokes and you are down wind - (or is it 'aft' of them) then you get free lungfuls of the stuff on the balcony - gives a new meaning to 'thar she blows'.I expect Royal Caribbean to start charging non-smokers for this freebie once they cotton-on to it. And why not if they can charge without blushing $40 for a bottle of Wolf Blass!!?? We were on Deck 9, Port, towards the back end (stern, me hearties). Great cabin steward - Selvin from Honduras. All in all, glad I tried it - but never again, and especially not with RCI. (Disclaimer: I cannot emphasise enough how good the crew were - pity RCI is so greedy). Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
The travel arrangements made by MSC to transport us from home to Southampton were horrific. If we had been given the details of this we would have arranged our own transport but because we were not informed of these arrangements until a ... Read More
The travel arrangements made by MSC to transport us from home to Southampton were horrific. If we had been given the details of this we would have arranged our own transport but because we were not informed of these arrangements until a few days before departing we were unable to arrange suitable alternative transport. Perhaps you could take a leaf out of P & O's book. They supply coach or train travel options inclusive and from out area this would have taken 6 1/2 hours. As it was the actual travelling time was 13 1/2 hours with hours hanging around coach stations in between. We were horrified that the balcony in our cabin was open and not enclosed the distance between the rails was frightening. and the balcony was so narrow we had to squeeze past each other to get on. The food was a bit strange and sometimes a bit bland and the self service was pandemonium. The entertainment was a bit samey and not always entertaining with the exception of the mime artist but to watch flamenco dancing only for 45mins was too long a bit of variety was needed. We had children chasing each other up and down the deck corridors most of the day which we though was dangerous practise and could have caused an accident. The only saving grace was that we met some lovely people of all ages and made some lasting friendships. Due to a misunderstanding by the tour company and the ship time the included coach trip to the winery in Lisbon lasted 6 1/2 hours instead of 4 1/2 hours One and a bit hours of this spent on the coach at the dock waiting for people who had decided not to go, therefore we did not have time to walk through Lisbon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Well the ship was certainly impressive but the spoils of luxury commensurate with Cunard Queens Grill were sadly lacking. I apologise to those below decks for sounding snobbish but we have only cruised on the top deck and paid the price ... Read More
Well the ship was certainly impressive but the spoils of luxury commensurate with Cunard Queens Grill were sadly lacking. I apologise to those below decks for sounding snobbish but we have only cruised on the top deck and paid the price for the trimmings! Royal Carribbean need to look at what they offer premium passengers which really amounted to nothing more than a fancy cabin! No complimentary free drinks and stocked mini bar, no butler just a cleaner, who was very good at cleaning. A concierge lounge with card access that was closed more than open and when it did serve drinks for 4 hours each evening IT WAS PACKED so people left.A good way to save money but a big deterrent for repeat business. The only drinks during the day available tea and coffee! Worse still on sea days the reserved section of the pool deck for GOLD was like a tin of sardines, 30 beds 30cm apart and never a free one!!! How can they accept bookings for premium passengers and expect to get away with the minimum offerings? The ship was packed with over 4000 people and totally over crowded from any aspect. You could never find a seat in any of the lounges as they were ALL occupied. Entertainment was pathetic and very third rate with nothing standing out as exceptional. Strangely the Entertainments Director Joff was brilliant himself and was the best part of the entertainment, especially his John Cleese looks and mannerisms which in my book were quite funny. He excelled at the charades evening with the Captain and crew and should actually have done better by finding more appropriate acts on board. The food in MYTIME dining was quite good and the waiters most entertaining and friendly but the seating each night seemed like a bun fight trying to get a preferred table, by the window!! Too many of the same people got the same tables EVERY night! We hated the Windjammer restaurant for lunch and breakfast as it was like a Blackpool night out with people fighting each other for food, we therefore retreated to the Chops Restaurant where we could eat with people with similar tastes, WHEN YOU COULD GET A TABLE! We felt that the cruise line was just a big money grab organisation, nothing for nothing and at every corner they hit you for a few dollars, even birthday announcements in the daily mag $25. It just did not stop, they hit you for a buck at every opportunity. I paid cash in $$$ for my extras as stipulated up front only because they hit you 3% on a ££ credit card which again is profiteering on rates. They gave me a letter in my suite every time I had surpassed $500 as they wanted to be paid....I had to pay in every week as we cruised....and this is how they treat their PREMIUM passengers!! I am sorry but if you like the good things in life and you are use to the spoils of Cunard Queens Grill and other premium voyages this ship is just another party ship reserved exclusively for the public as there are absolutely no standards on board and dress as you like even on official formal evenings. Been their done that but never again..........cruising is fun and I am sure many people on board had a ball but in our class of travel the complaints on top were on-going, RC do not have a clue when you are a paying £9000 versus an average of £3000!!!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I was quite disappointed with this cruise.  I’d been on 2 cruises prior to this one,both on IOS also I was with my wife. Checked in at Southampton was quite normal for us slow but considering there was over 4,000 passengers, we were ... Read More
I was quite disappointed with this cruise.  I’d been on 2 cruises prior to this one,both on IOS also I was with my wife. Checked in at Southampton was quite normal for us slow but considering there was over 4,000 passengers, we were all on-board in pretty good time. We had 1 inside stateroom . Just big enough and all very clean and modern.(Bring back the Milk,creamer is no good in tea. The Independence of the Seas is an impressive ship to be sure. The organisation was pretty much flawless and the Cruise Director Joff Eaton does a pretty good job. The staff were very attentive and mostly friendly, no complaints there. There is a huge central area called the Royal Promenade with lots of shops and a few places to eat and drink. Unfortunately it felt more like a shopping arcade than anything else. Sometimes they held street parties in this area but because there were so many shops most people had to stand. Food: Our dining room was the Macbeth this time,and the food was first class this time and service was 6*. Personally I felt the Windjammer Buffet was far below standard of other years the food was varied and certain dishes pretty good but it got very busy and it was closed off during certain times which I’ve not experienced before. Entertainment: I had high hopes of this but it fell a long way short for me. The acts they had at the Alhambra Theatre were a bit random. There was a Liverpool comedian who spoke too fast and was hard to understand at first. Also a mind reader chap, a female gymnast whose act was competent but hardly breath-taking and a BMX biker who fairly bored me so much i went to the Casino. The best by a long way was a foursome act called Graffiti Classics. The ships own singers and dancers were professional but their shows were all safe, steril and a bit loud it spoilt the act. In my opinion ,nothing racy or edgy at all. There were other places with live music, mostly soft rock and reggae but the music sets were quite repetitive. There was one evening pool party on deck 11 during the first week which we loved, but it didn’t happen again for some reason. Overall the entertainment was either aimed at the 0-20 group or the over 50s. Nothing much for those in between. Beverage packages: I was in two minds about purchasing a beverage package but glad I didn’t. The premium package is $55 per person per day but doesn’t include everything.As my wife is tea-total this proved far to expensive for my needs,I would have been permanently drunk having to drink my wives share. Excursions: Very expensive, Also not much variety in the type of excursion offered,the descriptions certainly need some work being done on them,to assist the elderly steps and hills are rarely mentioned. Deck 11: Very busy of course during the good weather we had, deck was crammed with sun loungers with barely 6 inches gap between each.The live music (if you can call it that) was designed i believe to keep everyone awake. Gratuities: At the end they also offered envelopes to allow you to tip those extra special staff directly with cash. Overall impression: Professional, very expensive, and the trimmings that have been made to save a few dollars have had the wrong effect and were very noticeable by many onboard saying the same thing.. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Being a large ship, we were not surprised to wait an hour or so, going through the usual reception system. Once on board, it did not take long to get into the cabin and make that important cup of tea, preparing to wave goodbye to ... Read More
Being a large ship, we were not surprised to wait an hour or so, going through the usual reception system. Once on board, it did not take long to get into the cabin and make that important cup of tea, preparing to wave goodbye to Southampton. That's when we first noticed just how smoky the ship was. Of course, P&O allow smokers on the balconies - it's their prerogative and right, so that was the unpleasant smell from beginning to end for us non-smokers. Sometimes I wondered whether it would have been better to have booked a cheaper window cabin - never mind, we could always go on top. On top? Better get there quick, especially on sea days, or the sight of blue towels reserving sunbeds is hard to work through, especially if you want to find a reasonable spot. Then be careful just where you pick. We just wanted some good sea air and relaxation during the day; that means that the pool areas are out, as the music blasts out and keen bluecoats try to get you singing along to -yes we even heard - Agadoo!!! There's a non smoking side (well if the wind blows the right way) and quieter spots near the engines or at the ends (if you are quick). Other than not being able to relax during the day, we were delighted with our cabin steward - the best in 7 cruises. The food is good at evening meals and bar prices reasonable. During breakfast and lunch, there was the usual mad scramble around the buffet and nowhere to sit. We learnt to have breakfast in bed and to be waited on at a slower lunch, at the lower restaurants. Entertainment was not bad - again, if you could find a seat. Even after arriving 15 minutes before shows started, we had to stand. The port stays were generally far too short, with no thought of local events or public transport timetables. We didn't feel we got to know anywhere very well. We met some nice folk from all around uk, and had some good laughs around the table in the evening. Most people were friendly and eager to chat about their cruise experiences on P&O. Those who enjoyed P&O and the trip the most, told us that they loved bingo, drinking, smoking, dancing and in the evenings they looked forward to getting a seat in time for the comedians. We were obviously fish out of water. It was a good experience, but P&O is not for us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We recently returned from the Maiden Voyage of the Royal Princess. Princess really hyped this ship up, and as such we were excited to sail, even to the point of getting up early to watch the Princess Kate christen the ship. Perhaps all of ... Read More
We recently returned from the Maiden Voyage of the Royal Princess. Princess really hyped this ship up, and as such we were excited to sail, even to the point of getting up early to watch the Princess Kate christen the ship. Perhaps all of this hype caused us all to have greater expectations, and as such, we perhaps had a more negative experience when that hype was not met with the experience on board. Embarkation was okay, except that it felt weird having to walk outside along the deck before entering the ship, especially since it was wet and still drizzling rain. Nothing like getting wet before getting on-board. Welcoming champagne while boarding? None. Actually, nothing at all, which felt very strange considering it was a maiden voyage. We had a double outside cabin (category BB) and were immediately struck by the size of the balcony. It is barely comfortable for two people sitting and very narrow. Perhaps we were spoiled on the Equinox last year, when we would have friends over on our balcony to sip some wine upon our returns from the ports before getting ready for supper and the evening. Due to the weather, the balcony was not much of an issue on this trip, but if I was travelling to warmer climes where I would want to sit outside more frequently, particularly enjoying the company of friends, I would not want to cruise on this ship. The rest of the room was adequate, although you had to be careful when opening the bathroom door if the other person was getting clothes from the closet or going into the safe, lest you whack them unconscious. We gave up on the toilet paper roll dispenser, and simply took the spare roll and left it on the vanity, since the dispenser is a joke to try to use. The TV in the room, however, was another source of frustration. There is no way to check your room charges on the screen, forcing you to use your laptop or smartphone to access the Princess intranet. Convenient for some (and yes, I had a netbook so I could do it), but a horrible and inconvenient policy. There were many glitches that I suspect that they will fix, such as the weather forecast never being correct (one day it showed a temperature of 54 with a forecast high of 114...huh?). Not sure if it is a glitch or policy, but there was also no information on upcoming ports or on available excursions. Just TV shows and movies. Speaking of the technology, the internet service was horrible. Even connection to the main Princess gateway was a challenge at times. Yes, I know that satellite internet on ships is very slow, but this one was glacial, the worst I have experienced. I heard many complaints of overcharges due to logouts not being registered, etc. For those of us who depend to be connected occasionally for business or other matters, not a good situation. On to the main rooms. We thought the piazza was very nice and pleasant, and we would often pick up something from the bakery and sit down and enjoy the violinists in the afternoon. Some people complain about the monochrome aspects of the colors, but overall we thought it was a pleasant place. Most of the other common areas were fine, such as the theatre, etc. with one caveat. Very often it seemed that the air conditioning was either set too warm or not functioning, and it was stifling at times. The food overall was quite good. I found one of my steaks, I think it was the prime rib, oddly dry (despite medium rare), but other than that the food was fine. We always go with our eyes wide open that you are getting good banquet food, and not visiting a gourmet restaurant. The menu appears a touch quirky the first few nights, but the Italian night menu was excellent as were some of the other nights. Service was good, even if it did not appear that our servers had a great knowledge of the menu items. We ate in the main Allegro dining room at late sitting, and it is indeed odd that you have to either take the elevator directly down or else go to another floor and then take the stairs to the dining room. Kind of weird, but not the end of the world. We had a table centrally located near the entrance, and the shaking of the table was unbearable the first night. Glass, dishes, flowers, US...one long continuous massage which got very irritating. Not wanting to take a chance that it would be like that every night, we had our table changed to another location further in and beside a window, which was better with regards to the vibrations, and outstanding the night that a team of dolphins decided to play in the wake next to our window after sailing away from Malaga. We decided against any specialty restaurants this time only due to the length of the cruise, although we did eat at the Horizon twice for lunch. It's a buffet and decent, but not very exciting. We also ate a few times at Alfredo's; very good authentic Italian pizza that was well prepared and not cheap on the toppings. Enjoyed that a lot. The casino was fine except for the configuration of the smoking section, which is simply on the opposite side of the row of tables. Due to this, there were many nights I had to cut short my time on the craps table or not play altogether (saved myself some money perhaps???) because of a smoker right next to the table and having to inhale the smoke. Perhaps I am super-sensitive, but to me it just did not make sense. It definitely took away from enjoying the casino for me. Most nights were cool so we did not try the movies under the stars, and since the cruise was a short one, we did other things on nights when it was warmer. I guess a cool thing to do, although frankly I do not go on a cruise to watch movies or tv of any kind. The pool area was adequate for the weather, and there seemed to be ample chairs. Our steward did tell us to take the pool towels that she left for us in the room, though, since she said they run out on the pool deck often, something we have seen on previous cruises with others as well. Not to compare to other lines, but one thing we appreciated when we sailed on the Equinox last year was the greeting when coming back after visiting the ports, with lemonade, water and damp towels waiting at the gangway upon your return. On this cruise, absolutely nothing. I am assuming that is a Princess procedure, but it would be a nice touch. The onboard entertainment was quite good. The Atomic band which played on the pool deck and in other venues was very good, and the 4 girl strings playing in the late PM in the piazza was relaxing after a long day in port. We saw the Beatles impersonation band which was not too bad, and the magician from Venice was very good, although it was disappointing that he only gave one 30-minute show (which he repeated at least once). You would think that they would have somebody do more than one show and when they did, that they would not simply repeat the same illusions as the first one. The embarkation procedure was probably the absolute best that we have experienced. Very organized, very smooth, and very quick. Good job there. I am afraid that this review may appear to negative. It is not meant to be, and our attitude is that we make the best out of every situation so we still enjoyed ourselves a lot. Overall, the ship is quite beautiful and comfortable, the food was good, the room was decent. But considering the amount of hype that this ship had, there were far too many deficiencies to fulfill the promises of the cruise. Perhaps, too, since this was my first Princess cruise, I seemed to miss some of the things I was used to, which may not be fair. Would I sail on the Royal again? I can only say perhaps. Definitely not, if it was an itinerary where I expected to be on the balcony a lot, due to its size. But I would consider it for others. I would make one more point, as related to the hype. There is no question that we paid a premium to go on the Maiden Voyage. Or as some people I met called it, the Maiden Glitches Voyage. For that, you would think that Princess would have reciprocated to show how much they VALUE their customers. But overall, there did not appear to anything special to give that WOW factor on this cruise. Yes, they handed up Union Jacks upon our leaving Southampton, but other than that, nothing. I had read many posts claiming that in the past, they received some token or gift of appreciation to commemorate the maiden voyage, but there was nothing on this cruise. To be honest, I don't really care to receive something that will collect dust on the bookshelf, but I think it speaks volumes as to the attitude of the company and how much they value their customers who went out of their way to book the maiden voyage. That they appeared to take an attitude of indifference to that was disappointing, especially in the current economic state of cruising.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We were first introduced to cruising back in 2002 by my dad who would only ever sail with P&O and we last sailed with them on Aurora in 2006. Since then we have cruised with both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and I always told the ... Read More
We were first introduced to cruising back in 2002 by my dad who would only ever sail with P&O and we last sailed with them on Aurora in 2006. Since then we have cruised with both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and I always told the passengers on those cruises that P&O were still the best. So this year we chose to return to P&O on the Ventura, what a shock we got!!.Standards in all areas have fallen dramatically especially the food. Food selection for both breakfast and lunch in the Waterside was very limited and the service area chaotic.This was the first ever cruise my wife lost weight instead of putting it on!! No wonder P&O seem to get bad press for Norovirus the lack of hand hygiene regime was the worst I ever experienced and when I challenged the head waiter why no member of staff was giving out hand gel as on other ships he said that he had been cut back so much on staff he could no longer provide that service. The other big let down was the poor organisation of getting off the ship by tender at Cannes. It was so slow we gave up and this was the only port we really wanted to visit. There are also no live port talks, again another cutback. Entertainment was generally good but as another reviewer stated the noise level was so high we some nights had to leave the theatre to escape the screeching of some of the performers. If P&O continue their policy of discounting and reducing standards I am sure many of their loyal old customers will desert them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We flew from Glasgow down to Southampton on May 9. Slight problem at embarkation as the RC check in employee didn't know how to work her computer. We waited patiently while she screwed her face up and pressed lots of buttons.It was ... Read More
We flew from Glasgow down to Southampton on May 9. Slight problem at embarkation as the RC check in employee didn't know how to work her computer. We waited patiently while she screwed her face up and pressed lots of buttons.It was obvious she was becoming more than a little stressed out. Meanwhile the operator next to her was merrily processing customers every couple of minutes and pulling over people from the general queue, ignoring my wife and I who had now been standing at the desk for over 20 minutes. I eventually asked her if she would mind taking us next as our server was clearly having difficulty. She agreed but I think the dirty looks we got from our original server were uncalled for. It was interesting to note that while we were now being properly checked in, our original server had called another couple over and yet still couldn't work her computer. Hopefully that couple didn't have to wait as long as we did. I suggest that RC ensure their check in operators are fully trained cos this one certainly wasn't.Once on board we went straight to our stateroom. My only complaint was that the mattress was very saggy after years of use and had a very large dip in it right at the small of my back. In hindsight I should have reported it and I would have probably got a replacement. However I didn't and ended up with a sore back each morning as a result. I won't make that mistake again.Our stateroom attendant kept the room nice and tidy. We hardly saw him all cruise.We've done a few RC cruises so it is hard not to compare. I found the food on this cruise to be acceptable but not great. Good choice in the Windjammer. We ate there quite often because the service in the main dining room was so very slow. Sitting with a glass of water for 50 minutes waiting on a starter is not a good way to treat your customers RC. I am not sure what the problem is but service is way too slow here. We also tried Portofino's. Again the food was good but nothing special really.The Entertainment staff was predominantly female. CD Clo seemed a jolly enough person and kept everyone informed as to what was happening. The acivities manager Becky " Don't Touch Me " Smith is clearly in the wrong job. What a grump. Top marks go to Tanya, a very friendly and happy individual who seems to relish her job.. You have a good one there RC. And lastly Claire - My dear, it isn't clever or funny to make fun of people because of where they come from. It's water off a ducks back to me but I saw a few fellow scots getting quite annoyed at some of her comments.I may be wrong but there seemed to be a shortage of bar staff and waiters compared to previous RC cruises. I ended up giving up on waiters and just went to the bar myself when I wanted a drink. However it's a bit annoying to have to stand at a bar for ages waiting to be served by the one solitary bartender and then get hit for 15% of an already over-priced drink.The casino was empty most of the time. During the whole cruise I never saw anyone playing craps which is a shame because its my favourite table game. However you really need a crowd to enjoy it to the full. Only a few people played roulette or blackjack. Perhaps in a recession people don't have money to gamble. I don't know what RC can do about this but there's no point having a casino that is empty to this extent. Perhaps RC could organise lessons during the day to spark a bit of interest. Or replace some of the slot machines with electronic roulette or blackjack machines.Entertainment on board was quite ood. Headliners were a bit hit and miss but what can you expect over 15 days. The RC singers and dancers however were very ordinary and their shows seemed more suited to a Butlins holiday camp. Once again, I had the unhappy experience of standing in a queue at Guest services to get things removed from my account that I hadn't purchased. A number of fellow passengers had the same issue and I myself have had this experience on a number of RC cruises. RC really need to tighten up on this. Customers don't like to waste valuable holiday time standing in line to get mistakes made by the cruise line corrected.I won't comment on the ports as they are all pretty well known and are outwith the scope of the cruise line operation.One slight problem on disembarking in that we nearly missed our coach transfer to the airport. The coach driver said we were late however we got off as soon as our number had been called. I wonder what would have happened if the coach had left without us as this was a service we had included in our cruise pacakge.To summarise, we got the cruise we paid for. I like to be casual on holiday with perhaps a couple of formal nights & for me RC get this just right.So I will use them again. However , the drop in service is getting noticeable so I hope RC take note of this. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
PROS1. Very ergonomic ship design2.The Staff and Crew especially at the Blu Restaurant3.The food choices in the Ocean View Cafe,Blu The ship was super in the bay of Biscay.Cons1, Too much salt in food (especially Asian,soups) in Ocean view ... Read More
PROS1. Very ergonomic ship design2.The Staff and Crew especially at the Blu Restaurant3.The food choices in the Ocean View Cafe,Blu The ship was super in the bay of Biscay.Cons1, Too much salt in food (especially Asian,soups) in Ocean view cafe.When I told the Maitre-de he just ignored me.I had a chat with the Maitre-de of the Blu (Jorge)who was super and looked after us .2.The Gym is great but all the cardiovascular equipment need calibration and some repair.I reported this to the gym person who was more interested in chatting up other staff than doing her job?3.The activities staff made the cruise boring!Clueless in the art of keeping passengers happy.4.The choice of free on demand movies in TV was OK ,but they need more films .Another gripe from passengers was the fact that we had to pay an extra $55 to cover buses/transport from the ship when we were in ports just to get to town.As the cruise was heavily discounted it attracted a high number of mature people who seem to be on a "booze cruise" who were not very pleasant to the crew or fellow passengers . There were also a high number of people with buggies who seem to block corridors and slow people down . Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was my first cruise and will certainly be my last (with Celebrity. My wife had previously sailed with P&O on 4 other occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We decided to give Celebrity a go and whilst it has many good ... Read More
This was my first cruise and will certainly be my last (with Celebrity. My wife had previously sailed with P&O on 4 other occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We decided to give Celebrity a go and whilst it has many good features, there were a number of areas I felt it did not live up to expectations. Cabin/Bathroom/Balcony The cabin and bathroom are very well appointed although it could have done with having additional European plug sockets or preferably UK sockets given that the vast majority of passengers on European cruises are British. Another BIG complaint was the fact that I was unable to smoke on the balcony - I know smokers are treated as pariahs these days but I specifically booked a cabin with a balcony for this express reason. Cabin Attendants We had no complaints about the service or the level of cleanliness of the cabin however, they insisted on hosing the balcony and patio doors down just after 8.00am most mornings. This proved very annoying as it not only woke us up but also rendered the balcony unusable with it all soaking wet as well as the furniture. Dining/Bars Eating in the main Moonlight Dining room was a fairly pleasurable experience with generally attentive staff. The food served often lacked flavour, was warm rather than hot and vegetables pretty non-existent. Another point was that they ran out of Merlot 3 days before the end of the cruise!!! The Tuscan specialty restaurant was a different affair altogether. Whilst requiring a $70 surcharge for the pleasure of us both eating in there, the food and service were excellent. The Ocean View cafe should be renamed the Ocean View CANTEEN!! Generally the food was just above being chilled (unless you went for fresh cooked items) - I never saw a thermometer in existence to check food core temperatures - even the the Big Yellow Arches company are much hotter on this. They regularly only had one coffee machine working each side causing queues all the time. There was often a distinct lack of seating unless you timed your dining. Being self service, there were no trays (something you do get in a proper canteen) which often meant having to make multiple trips to get drinks and food. Again much of the food was uninspiring (I've had better salad selections in 2 star hotels in Spain). The last 4 days of the cruise, it appeared that there had been an outbreak of Norovirus - this simply exacerbated the problem in the Ocean View as it went from self service to staff serving which lead to even colder food. I agree with previous comments about the bars being predominantly in 'corridors' but nevertheless, this wasn't a real problem. We started to use the Quasar nightclub - given the general age range of the passengers, the general emphasis seemed to be be on 'typical' nightclub music with little variance until we managed to persuade the DJ to take requests. On Deck Facilities Whilst there were 3 pools, in no way was it possible to 'swim' in any of them - they were positively tiny. There were 4 smoking areas on the ship and each one was situated in probably the draftiest areas of the ship which coupled with the ban on smoking on one's balcony meant that smoking was a less that pleasurable experience apart from the people you met in these areas. Disembarkation I was actually quite impressed with this where you were allocated a time to meet in the Theatre before being guided off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Adonia is adults only but I was suprised that most of the adults on the cruise were far older than me. I don't regard my self as a 'spring chicken' but at 59 I was clearly one of the younger passengers. A lot of the ... Read More
Adonia is adults only but I was suprised that most of the adults on the cruise were far older than me. I don't regard my self as a 'spring chicken' but at 59 I was clearly one of the younger passengers. A lot of the activities were aimed at the predominantly older cruisers. Liked 1.Jogging/walking track on Sky deck, 2 miles every Sea day with excellent views. 2. The Adonia Theatre Company. Imaginative and well choreographed shows. Lots of energy great costumes. Never failed to entertain despite the somewhat limited venue that was the Curzon Lounge. Even did a Noel Coward play which was very well received. 3. The recent films. We saw the Hobbit, Hitchcock, Argo, Life of Pi and Cirque du Soleil. 4. Crows nest. Great views, quiet during the day and pleasant when the 'entertainment' wasn't on. 5. Gym. Well equipted. Plenty of space6.Tea making facilities in cabin but why UHT milk? HINT Get milk from Conservatory and store in fridge 7. Live Premiership football including Manchester derby. 8. Perfume talk. Lady enthusiastic and informed not pushy. 9. Area at stern of ship behind Conservatory where we could sit out and enjoy the scenery while having a leisurely breakfast. Sadly often very busy. 10. Piano player Chris Hamilton, flautist Jonathan Johnson and band Quintessence. 11. Complementary shuttle bus in every port where ship is not docked in town. Didn't like. 1. Much of the food in the Pacific Restaurant was bland and not hot enough. Portions small, ice cream not firm. One main course not edible. 2. The Euro exchange rate on board. HINT Purchase Euro's prior to departure and save lots. E1.15 on land E1.05 on ship! 3. Enhancement programme. Jewellery lectures same script as on Ventura 2011!Seven lectures on Concorde too many and not necessarily appealing to females. Brochure suggested that painting classes would be available; they weren't. 4. Weather and wave forecast on cabin TV product of a deranged imagination. 5. Waiter service indifferent. To be fair the waiters were under considerable pressure to get through service but they were nowhere near as attentive and helpful as on previous cruises. Having to ask for refills of water was a first and my attempts to get them to serve my cheese with coffee after the sweet failed despite several requests. (Ripe cheese can be a bit off-putting to fellow cruisers who are enjoying their desserts.) For the first time in 10 cruises I found it necessary to complain about the waiter service and, to be fair, it did improve but it remained hurried and lacked attention to detail through-out the cruise. 6. Afternoon Tea was a disappointment. Sandwiches and cakes on a wonky stand were at the table when we arrived and did not look fresh. Despite an impressive Tea Menu only one type of Tea appeared and we had to ask for Earl Grey which was brought by a harassed looking waiter who looked surprised by a further request for lemon! 7 Frozen eggs in lunch time salad not handled well by the waiting staff. Not sure freezing eggs is good practice? 8. Conservatory often too busy: seating an issue. Food mostly tepid. Juice and water dispenser slower than a paraplegic snail. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
P.O waste tons of money printing off information that could be put on a TV channel for customer use, they even ask the passengers to print off E Tickets, that really are not required, several of us noticed this on arrival at Southampton. ... Read More
P.O waste tons of money printing off information that could be put on a TV channel for customer use, they even ask the passengers to print off E Tickets, that really are not required, several of us noticed this on arrival at Southampton. Not following there own quote for carbon footprint. First day 6/2/2013 toilet didn't work,cabin carpet needs renewing, if these cabins have had a refit I must have blinked, I've travelled on this ship 3 times now, nothing appeared different, oh shouldn't say that as there are lots of changed through P.O. You no longer get into ports before 9am and leave approx 4.30pm to 5pm, so if you now decide to go on any trips you don't have anytime to look at the port your in.which for me tells me the Captain slows down to reach ports at that time every arrival. I wonder what they did with the lovely plates they would serve dinner on, they had a nice emblem and the waiters always lined them up on tables, that's just a whim of mine, more wasted money by putting a dark grey large plate on the table when you arrive, then take it off, what's that all about. Due to all the trouble in Ashdad we ported at Alexandria on a Friday though to Saturday, that was badly thought out as its there Sabbeth (Closed). What a waste. We travelled the first time on this ship in July 2006, even then they had leaks all over the ship, and that still exists today buckets around the ship. When we arrived in Messina everyone noticed a terrible smell, how to describe that, the sewage tank smelt like it needed to be emptied YUCK, terrible smell. Food selection is now limited, when I look through menu's from 2006 & 2008 they are very sparse for choice, this has now made my decision much easier to travel with P.O or not, oh quick answer there definitely NOT. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Between 19 December 2012 & 7 April 2013 (109 nights), my wife and I were on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth on two cruises (back-to-back) to the Mediterranean and Exotic Discoveries. 1. Queen Elizabeth was exquisite. There were ... Read More
Between 19 December 2012 & 7 April 2013 (109 nights), my wife and I were on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth on two cruises (back-to-back) to the Mediterranean and Exotic Discoveries. 1. Queen Elizabeth was exquisite. There were excellent public areas such as the Garden Room, Cafe Corinthia, Commodore Club, library, fabulous decor in the Reception Atrium, Britannia & Verandah Restaurants. Also, lots of lovely quiet corners. Our cabin was well appointed and there was plenty of storage space. We had problems, which were unavoidable, e.g. Customs & Immigration in the USA, which we all suffered for 3 hours, with stiff upper lips! 2. In general, the Entertainment on board was disappointing for a ship of this quality. Some professional acts were very good, others extremely poor. One artist, performed the same routine, seen in 2007 on Aurora. Word for word! How disappointing. The ship's Singers and Dancers repeated the same shows 4 or more times. In the past on long duration (14+ week) cruises we saw 14 new shows. 3. Generally, on this type of holiday we have found that between 30-50% of passengers complete the entire voyage, with one Captain & a majority of staff for the full duration. This voyage was based on two/three week passenger changeovers, three Captains & numerous Officer/crew changes. There was no continuity and we were regularly asked (even after 12 weeks on board) if we had just joined the ship! 4. Our cabin steward and waitress/busboy at dinner were extremely professional. We told them so and also gave our comments in writing. However, patchy service was always evident at breakfast and lunch. A continental breakfast (porridge, fruit salad & toast with tea) could take 25 or ninety minutes! In addition, many orders were incorrectly processed. We treated ourselves to five visits at the Verandah, a la carte restaurant. On Valentines night the wine waiter was 'out-of-stock' of three different wines. This even included the Cunard House Red! All he wanted to serve us were the $20+ wines (150cl glass) of his choice. His 15% added gratuity was at stake! We were very disappointed, as this spoilt our Valentines evening. We subsequently complained to the Head Sommelier & found future visits were met with frosty welcomes! Please note that the food and general service were outstanding. We found staff throughout the ship, from the Philippines and India, were charming and had welcoming smiles for passengers. The majority of Mid European staff were in a clique and very surly. They were referred to by some passengers as the "Mid European Mafia"! To recall a personal incident. On a day when the sea was quite rough, at lunch, a Mid European waiter asked: "You haven't come to my table to 'puke' all over me, have you?" Cunard Five star/White Star service?. . . . . You decide! 5. We had several (150+ at times) cases of Norovirus and there were plenty of measures taken to keep the virus under control. Yet, large plates used for 'plating' soup, starters & pastas, were regularly wiped with a used napkin at the service stations & reused. This was despite used cutlery & splashed food, being on the large plates. We were told this process was not Company policy, but it didn't stop the practise. 6. Cunard sells itself as a British product. Yet, the best deals are available from America, e.g. one couple got a 36 night sector (LA to NZ return) for $1,660pp. This equates to c. �£31/day. Of course, the real give-away is the pricing & billing on board, which are in U S Dollars. It shows who the real clients are in Cunard's books & why there is little interest in long duration passengers from the UK. In conclusion, it was such a pity we were let down by the 'human factor', staff & entertainment. When you have long periods at sea, what you need are good entertainment and pleasant staff. The ship is fabulous in design and decor. However, you cannot avoid staff who are unhappy and badly managed. Comments from the staff like, 'vote with your feet if you are disappointed', does not support the demand for Excellent scores on the questionnaire, or the chorus of "We are Cunard" at the end of the chefs' parade.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We had an enjoyable 10-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2 sailing from Southampton to four ports on Cunard's "Iberian Highlights" itinerary -- Vigo, Lisbon, Valencia, and Barcelona. This was our first cruise on the QM2, and ... Read More
We had an enjoyable 10-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2 sailing from Southampton to four ports on Cunard's "Iberian Highlights" itinerary -- Vigo, Lisbon, Valencia, and Barcelona. This was our first cruise on the QM2, and second on Cunard. We sailed on the Queen Victoria in January 2011 and found the contrasts interesting. For various reasons discussed shortly, we were more enamored with our Queen Victoria experience. Embarkation & Disembarkation Embarkation at Southampton was smooth and organized. While waiting for the front desks to open up, we appreciated the complementary magazine racks nearby. It was a nice way to pass the time. Once we boarded the Queen Mary 2, we were greeted with the customary friendly welcomes from the Cunard crew. Disembarkation on 9/14/12 was pleasant, but with an unexpected challenge. We waited at the designated place at the Royal Court Theatre for our early departure group in what was a well-organized process. However, what was NOT nice was our Cunard transfer bus waiting an extra 45 minutes for passengers who were late despite the "early departure" urgency of flight arrangements. Although the Cunard representative informed us the last tardy party had cleared the ship's security gate and should be boarding soon, they never did. After annoyed passengers complained and asked how many of us would support the bus leaving without this irresponsible party, the bus driver decided it was time to leave the station or face a potentially riotous group. Wise decision! Food & Dining We had the early seating at 6 pm, and in retrospect, we should have opted for the late seating at 8:30 pm at The Britannia. Early seating has several advantages, such as the option of seeing the headliner and production shows twice the same evening, but the main drawback is that you may still be full from afternoon tea or feel discouraged from partaking in the afternoon tea service or have less time to get ready for formal nights after a long day ashore. Overall, we were a bit disappointed by the quality of the food compared to what we've had on the Queen Victoria or on Princess cruises. We dined primarily at The Britannia, Golden Lion Pub, and Kings Court, although the specialty restaurants would likely have been more satisfying. Our dinners at the Britannia ranged from fair to very good. The prime rib roast was not cooked as ordered (rare came out medium and medium well done, respectively, for us) and the cut was definitely not prime, but more like a very lean, dense choice cut that had virtually no marbling one would expect from prime cuts of beef. The fish choices, including the roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass, on several nights were overcooked and dry. The lobster tail was delicious, but clearly petite. Even our waiter apologized for the tiny tail, an apparent admission that the lobster tails were smaller than usual. Nonetheless, the menu choices were sufficiently varied to accommodate different preferences. It's hard to say whether the decline in quality or quantity of food items was due to industry-wide efforts to control costs, but clearly the quality of preparation was lacking most evenings. However, we liked the smaller portions because it meant less waste, including less waist to worry about down the road. Food service was also slow from our wait staff, despite their pleasant and cordial demeanor. After one elderly couple complained about slow service, they began to get special attention from other wait staff and supervisors, while service to other tables was still lacking. Remember the old saying, "The squeaky wheel gets greased"? So true. The Kings Court selections for breakfast, lunch and late night snacks were standard fare. We've noticed that the late night selections were poor and not terribly appetizing. This was helpful for our weight management, although I wouldn't have minded a few extra well-earned pounds. We had no complaints about the food at the Golden Lion Pub. We had excellent fish and chips at the Pub several times during our cruise, and the bar and wait staff were excellent. The fish was expertly prepared and delicious. The executive chef, Nicolas Oldroyd, and his staff prepared an exquisite "Night of Chocolate and Ice" that featured all manners of chocolate confections to suit passengers with sweet dispositions and interesting and intricate ice carvings. The chocolates were absolutely heavenly! Stateroom Our interior cabin was located on the 12th deck, mid-ship. Our excellent steward always impeccably maintained our room. He always seemed to be around cleaning the rooms and making sure everything was picked up and properly maintained. Our chief complaint was the frequent noise from crew and passengers dragging deck chairs above us. Yes, you read that right. Deck chairs! The bank of rooms in this area was directly below an open-air deck where passengers could sunbathe or take in the scenery from one of the highest public areas on the QM2. Another passenger in our area also confirmed she heard lots of noise as well. Word to the wise -- avoid this area for future bookings! Port & Shore Excursions Our Iberian Highlights included four ports of call -- Vigo (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Valencia (Spain), and Barcelona (Spain). Cunard made its maiden voyage to Vigo. It was really convenient that the QM2 docked at the heart of Vigo making self-guided walking tours so convenient. Although we did not do this ourselves, the highlight of stopping here would have been a 96 km trip to Santiago de Compostela to visit the cathedral and the tomb of Saint James the Apostle. Along with Rome and Jerusalem, the Vatican considers Santiago de Compostela a Holy City. The Tram and Coach tour of Lisbon was definitely worth the time. We enjoyed an intimate ride through some of the narrow and hilly streets of Lisbon, as well as complementary port and lemon tart pastry on the tram. Be awfully careful when you use the public restroom at various parks. Our tour guide warned us about professional pickpockets and thieves who pose as tourists, armed with maps, to ask unsuspecting tourists for directions or hang out inside the restrooms. At our stop, I actually saw two suspicious guys casing out the tourists. One guy was following a young mother and her daughter since her large handbag was slung slightly behind her. We did enjoy seeing the Christ the King monument across the river, which resembles the one at Rio de Janeiro. For a panoramic view of Lisbon, be sure to take the Santa Junta Lift for wonderful views of the city and the sea of red-tiled roof tops. We also took a coach and walking tour of Valencia. It was unfortunate that our guide, Ivan "the Terrible" as he referred to himself to help us remember his name, was truly terrible. He did not use a microphone & amplifier and had to "shout" above the din of crowd and traffic noise. Needless to say, we could barely make out what he was saying. We could have done better by doing our own self-guided tour of this wonderful seaport so full of history, culture and ambience. We managed to do better at our fourth and last port of call at Barcelona. We signed up for a coach and walking Gothic City tour of this magnificent ancient city. Our main complaint was that we did not have enough time to see and appreciate everything the guide pointed out, including what would have been a highlight of any tour -- a visit to the Picasso Museum (the other highlight would have been the La Sagrada Familia Church designed by Gaudi and never completed to this day). One highlight was visiting the Bouqueria, a marketplace along Las Ramblas. Our guide recommended lunch at La Gardunya, and we had the paella that was delicious. Afterwards, we found an even better place for dining -- the Universal Kioska, to be found at the left-most aisle at the entrance to the Boqueria. This place was packed with long lines, and no wonder. The mixed seafood grill was prepared in olive oil and was absolutely stunning and worth coming back to, again and again. We also had the mixed mushrooms that were also grilled in olive oil with generous sprinkling of sea salt crystals. We would highly recommend this venue for anyone looking for fresh seafood. If Cunard were ever to consider an overnight venue, Barcelona should be at the top of the list. My wife and I decided we would definitely consider a land vacation in Barcelona in the future. Entertainment The QM2 had four production shows and four "bumper" shows. The four productions were "Viva Italia", "Crazy for Love", "Variety Showtime", and "Apassionata." By far the most enjoyable show for us was "Apassionata," which is in its ninth year with the QM2. "Apassionata" featured various styles of dance, such as Glenn Miller's Swing, ballroom, and Russian folk dancing. We enjoyed the production so much that we watched it twice! The Cunard dancers were superb, especially the dance captain, Katy Laverton, who showed great skill and execution throughout her routines. Her dance crew was professional and energetic throughout the performances. We also enjoyed the featured Cunard vocalists, Martin Lawson, Emily Brooks, Craig Thomas, and Nicola Bryan. The bumper shows featured a comedian, Adrian Walsh, two instrumentalists, Maria King and Mark Donoghue, and an outstanding singer who has performed many shows at the West End, Phillip Browne, a thoroughly engaging and entertaining vocalist with deep pipes. Browne had a superb rendition of Barry White's classic hit, "You're the First, the Last, My Everything." The ladies loved it when he sat next to them and bellowed out the title lyrics. Hearts must have swooned. Walsh was absolutely hilarious, although some of his jokes were lost on us Americans. Although my wife and I enjoy ballroom dancing, we could not enjoy it as much on the QM2, which boasts the largest ballroom at sea. We were hampered by the fact I was having foot problems and in a walking boot for part of the cruise. Nonetheless, the Dance Hosts somehow gravitated to the same group of women every night and did not really circulate throughout the crowd to find other women without dance partners. My wife even told two Dance Hosts I was okay with them asking her to dance. They did dance with her twice, but often reverted to the same guests over and over. After awhile, we gave up. We also noticed that the QM2's Queens Room is larger in terms of volume than the Queen Victoria, a smaller ship. However, the Queen Victoria actually had a larger dance floor than the QM2, which made it less crowded and more enjoyable most nights. We, and other guests, did not like the inconvenience of the QM2's Queens Room since guests had to go to the front of the ocean liner, go down one flight of stairs and up another to access the room. The QV Queens Room was located mid-ship and easily accessible from anywhere on ship. On top of that, the QV's Queens Room could be seen from the floor above, which made watching the dancing and the professional dancers much easier. We were very disappointed that Illuminations, the only planetarium at sea, had been out of service for at least a month. The crew apologized for what would have been one of the highlights of the QM2. They also did not know when it would be operational again. Thankfully it was still available for lectures and movie showings. Internet Service What's a cruise review without some comment about Internet access? If you depend on satellite Internet service to handle "first come, first served" tasks, forget it! As you might expect from cruise ship Internet service, it was very, very slow with sporadic connections. Several guests in the Internet cafe gave up when they couldn't log on or were disconnected. Thankfully we qualified for some complementary minutes of Internet access, or else we would have complained that the bulk of our time was wasted on slow connection speeds. Certainly one benefit of being a frequent Cunard guest are the tiered benefits, including Internet service. Definitely one of the perks of using the cafe computers was the proximity to the beverage bar outside. The coffee there was far superior to what was available at the Britannia Dining Room! Overall Impressions The Queen Mary 2 is a beautiful ocean liner, well deserving its claim as the flagship of the Cunard Cruise Line. It's a matter of personal preference, but we much preferred the smaller and more intimate Queen Victoria, and its layout. On board the QM2, entertainment and crew service were good, but the food was somewhat lacking for us. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our overall experience with the Queen Mary 2. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Having booked this cruise because it fit our dates and we got a great price, we were either disappointed or annoyed almost every step of the way. Granted, we've been really spoiled, sailing SilverSea and Seabourn in the last 3 years, ... Read More
Having booked this cruise because it fit our dates and we got a great price, we were either disappointed or annoyed almost every step of the way. Granted, we've been really spoiled, sailing SilverSea and Seabourn in the last 3 years, but for some of the problems, that was no excuse. It started with the 5 day delay between the time I booked the cruise and the time that the company managed to get it together to send me a confirmation email with my sailing number. Mind you, they managed to ring up the charge on my credit card the first afternoon, but it took multiple phone calls from my travel agent to get the confirmation. I was mostly concerned with getting that booking/sailing number, because without it, I couldn't sign in to the "Already Booked" section of their website. Because I'd made the booking only about 8 weeks before sailing, I wanted to make appointments in the spa and book excursions. Once I had the confirmation code, I did sign in and had to re-sign in each and every time I returned. My computer remembers every key stroke it's ever registered but for some reason, Cunard's website made me sign in again and again. A minor annoyance but in keeping with what I found to be a really mediocre website in general. The worst part was trying to make a spa apppointment. There was no calendar available on the website, even under the "Already Booked" area, where in theory (and in practice on other cruise lines) I could have made the appointments with a few key strokes. No. I could email them and wait for a response, or call (England) I email. And emailed. and emailed. I got plenty of automated replies but no actual personal email willing to make my reservations. Finally I realized that the automated response email had a different phone number that worked like an 800 number in the US but routed through the England. So, 3 weeks after I started, I called. I had to leave a message. I told the machine that I wanted to make some spa appointments and I gave the two dates that I wanted. I told them morning or afternoon (wouldn't want to get in the way of lunch) They emailed me the appointments - at NOON ! Honestly, by that time I was just amazed. It seemed so British - exceedingly polite but vaguely incompetent. More phone calls sorted it out. The services were expensive but not as bad as Vegas, so I thought okay, bite the bullet. The excursions didn't look like much and in the case of Barcelona, didn't cover the things I wanted to see. Many tours that should have been half day tours weren't scheduled in such a way that would allow you to take 2 tours in one day. Our last cruise (Seabourn Baltic) had morning and afternoon tours, which would let you come back to the ship at lunchtime and really let you see everything you wanted (plus, I could leave my husband on the ship for an afternoon nap after we'd both been to see something in the morning) I did book an excursion from Livorno which would take us up the coast to Lerici and Portovenere for the day. The price seemed very reasonable $125pp for an 8 hour day with lunch. I was really looking forward to visiting Cadiz, but as another member's review mentioned, the line cancelled that with very little warning. I tried to find out why they cancelled Cadiz and put in Gibraltar and I got the feeling that it was a business decision - like the port charges were going to be too high or they hadn't sold enough excursions. They kept saying how Gibraltar was an opportunity to shop High Street shops without having to pay VAT. Well, their clientele is mostly British, so I suppose that's a draw for some, but I was very disappointed to not be visiting Cadiz (or Seville) Cunard has a very rigid hierarchy (Brits ! A Class system ! Love it) that we're not really interested in, but with a balcony cabin, I did expect a little better from the travel docs than a paper tag. I knew the tags wouldn't last through the multiple flights it would take to get me to London, so I waited to attach them, only to find that they weren't self-stick, but needed (so the instructions said) my own tape or staples. Staples ! I thought "that's going to go over well with the front desk". Check in was efficient and we reached our cabin with no mishaps. My bag was already there and my husband's arrived not too long afterwards. There was a split of some kind of wine in an ice bucket, but no fruit bowl. I found out later that you need to request the daily fruit bowl. I did that once. It was uninspired and I didn't renew my request and no new fruit appeared. Our steward introduced himself. He seemed pleasant enough and we saw him a lot, as his cart was parked next to our room almost our entire stay. The cabin was perfectly nice - all the balcony cabins that we've booked have the same layout. I went to the Pursers to register my credit card and while there I learned from another passenger that an automatic tip of about $13 would automatically be added to your bill unless you opted out. I have no idea where he came across this information but I was glad I learned about it up front. In the same way that we're not interested in the special dining areas that a higher priced cabin would have afforded us, we're not interested in the extensive formal and semi-formal nights that seem to be one of the backbones of this line. The first night we did try the Lido's special menu restaurant the first night. It was an Indian menu and quite tasty, but the $10 surcharge seemed designed to annoy more than anything else. Other cruisers we spoke to said that the surcharge is new. That was really the most niggling annoyance of the entire cruise - the sense of being nickle and dimed to death. Coffee, soda, even the bottles of water as you left the ship - everything was an add-on charge. It made the whole thing feel cheap and like another member said, really like a jumped-up Carnival cruise. Don't even get me started on the wi-fi. In this day and age it's just greedy of the cruise lines to charge you for wi-fi like it was an internet cafe in Krakow in 1990. The Captain opted to anchor out at Monaco - god knows what that was about. Supposedly another ship had precedence but they arrived after us, so ??? Tenders traveled back and forth but I suffer from some vertigo/motion sickness and there was no way. Ah, well, another port I wanted to see crossed off the list. On the upside, the spa has a huge indoor hot tub/thalassotherapy pool which was simply divine, the food at the Lido was perfectly nice and featured a new cuisine each night, Barcelona and Mallorca were wonderful and the tour in Italy was great. I'm just grateful that I got such a good deal on the price, because never again.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Just come back from two weeks doing the med. I have previously done two cruises with P and O and very impressed with them however the independence has things that P and O dont have but overall I feel that P and O are slightly more ... Read More
Just come back from two weeks doing the med. I have previously done two cruises with P and O and very impressed with them however the independence has things that P and O dont have but overall I feel that P and O are slightly more refined. The independence is a magnificant ship to look at both outside and inside the staff are very polite and pleasant and the ship was clean all the time. I was disappointed that to have anytime dining the graturities had to be paid up front at time of booking or if you didnt want that you had to have set dining. cruising is not cheap and therefore the guest should have the right to choose who they tip!! that did niggle me. Luggage when boarding we got on ship at 11.30am and after asking on numerous occassions got our luggage at 7pm. How come Azura who holds over 3,000 people can have the cases outside your room when taking over cabin at 2pm!!! They tell you on a leaflet once you are on the ship you may have to wait up to 9pm if I had been told before I could of taken a change of clothing on for the evening meal. The food to be fair was very good in the King Lear restaurant and the staff bent over backwards if you wanted extra I made the mistake of saying how much I liked creme brulee I then got it everynight lol in the end I said no more that I thought was very impressive and that out rules P and O to be honest. The windjammer again plenty to choose from but come on plastic plates and cups and wooden stirers!! and no trays!! not impressed with that. Sun beds as one gentleman said on here that is just a joke in the 14 days we were on the ship not once did we get a bed by any of the pools due to those selfish ones saving them and no pool attendants removing their towels. Also on deck 12 the sunbeds are put together like sardines and a running track in the middle of them great hearing thudding of people running when trying to sunbathe! not impressed. The entertainment was good and it was great to see the captain and Joff compete in give us a clue and cause so many laughs Joff I have to say is a very funny man and will be missed. We had a brief interlude in the medical centre after my husband cut his foot and I have to say that is one very impressive place and extremely clean and as good as any A and E department. Overall enjoyed the cruise and the ports, met some lovely people as you do on cruise holidays. disappointed that rules seem to be set i.e sunbed length of time but no one follows them up. Also my husband and I could not get over the amount of people filling their pockets with freebie jams, etc from the windjammer, walking around the ship with plates of food and going into the lifts with plates of food and on two occassions food being left in lifts!! I certainly was able to have enough food with out having to take out of the windjammer I cant recall the ship running short of food whilst we were on it!!! also my husband and I like the formal nights and we were surprised that people on the formal nights were allowed in to the restaurants (king Lear) with open neck shirts and trousers. I thought the windjammer was a place you could go if you didnt want to dress up. P and O would not allow you in to a mdr without black tie or tucks. That was disappointing and to be honest as it was so relaxed it gave us not insentive to dress up on the last formal so we went to the windjammer. overall the cruise was relaxing and the ports were great but just probably wouldnt do RCI again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012

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