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110 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was very smooth as we checked in online, went straight to our stateroom which was very nice and clean. As we were 1st time cruisers couldn't wait to have a look round the ship and we certainly were not disappointed. The ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth as we checked in online, went straight to our stateroom which was very nice and clean. As we were 1st time cruisers couldn't wait to have a look round the ship and we certainly were not disappointed. The promenade was very impressive as was the theatre, casino, etc. Went to the dinning room on the formal nights and the food was superb as was the food in the windjammer, with plenty of choice. Went to the 2 ice shows and 5 shows, which were ok for a cruise ship (not headliners but still ok) The waiters and bar staff were great and couldn't do enough for you. Now for the negatives! Advertised destinations Rome, Nice etc came at a considerable extra cost, actual destinations Civitavecchia, Villefranche etc were drop off points of limited appeal. As the juggler/comedian said in his show, cruising has become very affordable in his assessment of some guests apparel. The dress code on the formal nights, as we were led to believe from past cruisers, was strictly adhered to, not sure what happened on our cruise as guests were there in jeans, check shirts etc. One man drunk trying to obtain more alcohol as he had soiled his pants, kids running riot in big groups, mothers putting on suntan lotion on the kids in the windjammer where people are trying to eat there food, husband and wife arguing and he spits in her face, etc. My husband and i were expecting to have a lovely relaxing 2 week cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary, instead we felt like we had 2 weeks in Butlins holiday camp. We will not be returning to Royal Caribbean cruises anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Parking at the port was quick and easy. We were allocated a time slot, I feel no one kept to this, when we arrived at our allocated time majority of the people were already on board, very disappointed the photographers were not present ... Read More
Parking at the port was quick and easy. We were allocated a time slot, I feel no one kept to this, when we arrived at our allocated time majority of the people were already on board, very disappointed the photographers were not present to take our pictures when boarding the ship. This was our third time on this ship and we were disappointed, sadly many passengers do not know how to behave (adults & children). The children/teenagers on board are not kept under control by their parents and some are rude, obnoxious and move round the ship in packs causing problems to other passengers pressing all of the buttons when travelling in the lifts ect, an example or using bad language in front of younger children. The staff are very good, food mostly excellent, staterooms comfortable & clean. Shows are excellent with a very good cruise director with a sense of humour, if it was not for the entertainment on this cruise I would have went in sane. Transportation from ship to sights,shops etc are poor taking ages to disembark from the ship, but this was not at all ports. Shore excursions with the ship extremely expensive. We will not travel with this ship again, they need to review their policy with children running riot around the ship having no care or consideration for other passengers on board. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Having cruised with a number of lines including Fred Olsen and P&O over period of 20 years, we had a fair idea of what we ought to expect when choosing Royal Caribbean. We chose the Navigator of the Seas Mediterranean cruise on 7 ... Read More
Having cruised with a number of lines including Fred Olsen and P&O over period of 20 years, we had a fair idea of what we ought to expect when choosing Royal Caribbean. We chose the Navigator of the Seas Mediterranean cruise on 7 August for the itinerary and because, travelling in the school holidays is a must, as we care for grandchildren during term time. For the first time we opted to pay a pre-cruise service charge amounting to £256. Embarkation was effective and speedy. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8 which was comfortable. We were lucky to have a balcony because there were rarely seats available on the sun decks having been reserved with towels. RC have notices banning the practice but no-one seems to care. On arriving in the cabin I wanted to make a coffee for myself and a tea for my husband. He was OK. I wasn't. The cabin attendant informed us that RC do not provide sachets of coffee only teabags - (no biscuits a la P&O either). We bought a jar of coffee in Gibraltar. Having had toiletries provided on previous cruises and in hotels, I brought no conditioner or body wash. RC provide only thin slivers of soap and a shampoo dispenser. My luggage arrived at tea time. My husband's case was finally located the following morning. We discovered that the electrical circuits are 120 volts - no-one thought to mention it and the shops do not sell adapters. We were able to borrow one from Customer Services. Apart from jewelry, watches, drink and overpriced clothes little space is given to basic items. Ordering pre-dinner drinks we found that not only were the prices extortionate but that an 18% service charge was added. This was standard for every drink ordered at the bar. There was actually no service. You queued behind bad mannered children ordering time consuming concoctions to order all drinks at the bar. Confusion reigned when tendering your seapass in payment. Some were returned to the wrong customer. We queried why, having paid an advanced service charge we were then hit with an 18% gratuity charge. The answer was that the advance service charge was merely for cabin attendants. Having also unsuccessfully queried the lack of service in the bars, we withdrew the advanced payment. We were later told by a crew member that RC deduct admin charges from theseadvance payments. The ship was overcrowded and most bars had insufficient seating room. There is however a huge area of Deck 4 allocated to slot machines and gaming tables. Gangs of feral children roamed the ship unsupervised often carrying food and drinks, playing in the lifts and sitting in the interior balconies. The RC curfew is ignored. There is little point in RC having a dress code since some passengers make a point of disregarding it. Shorts and T shirts were worn on formal nights and delightful male teenagers refused to be separated from their baseball caps at meal times. Informal is fine but do bother to have have a dress code if it is ignored. We have seven grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 18 and they are not angels but a lot of these children behaved appallingly and without parental control RC are excellent at pushing sales. We were pushed to order $20 or $30 items from the menu most evenings. The food was reasonable in the MDR and our two waiters, Brandon and Bomchai were excellent. Food in the Windjammer was what you would expect from a self service cafeteria, but again it was difficult to find a table. Every time we switched on the TV a message was waiting to sell us something. There was no such importance given to information about the ports of call. Equally the broadcast system is shocking. It was either blasted to the cabin or you couldn't hear it at all. This also applied to the Captain's regular midday announcements. The tours we took in Civitaveccia for Rome, Genoa for Portofino, and Lisbon were good. We gave up on entertainment having seen the hypnotist and a singer. Royal Caribbean can obviously fill their cruises and will not notice that they have lost our custom. We would never travel RC again Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We have just returned home from a 2 week Western Mediterranean cruise on the P & O Britannia, their ‘flagship’ boat. Upon booking the cruise, we were eager to see a new, modern boat, designed specifically for the British market. ... Read More
We have just returned home from a 2 week Western Mediterranean cruise on the P & O Britannia, their ‘flagship’ boat. Upon booking the cruise, we were eager to see a new, modern boat, designed specifically for the British market. Having been on 2 previous cruises, one being on the P & O Azura and the other on the Celebrity Silhouette, of which the latter was very impressive, we expected this boat to be full of innovative technology and stylish décor seeing as it was only launched less than 18 months ago. However, upon embarkation onto Britannia in Southampton, our mind-set quickly changed, as it felt like we were being loaded onto the boat via the back door, with no up-lifting welcome from the staff or complimentary drinks, which was not the best start to our holiday on board what is regarded as the front runner in the P & O fleet. Our first glimpse of Britannia was the Atrium or in other words the central area of the ship which was like a shopping mall with a Costa Coffee and a range of other shops which, despite constant advertising of sales and additional reductions, the items were not in fact much cheaper than high street stores. This moves us nicely onto the attitude, friendliness and professionalism of the staff which particularly amongst the Officer ranks and certain members of the Entertainment team was virtually non-existent, with many choosing to ignore and simply not acknowledge passengers, creating an air of superiority amongst some members of the crew. Also, some seemed to forget that their duty was to ensure the safety of the passengers, for example when embarking on a tender operation to reach St. Peter Port, Guernsey, many officers had their sunglasses on and were chatting amongst themselves rather than ensuring people got safely on and off the tender boats and further to this, whilst on a tender boat we witnessed one member of the Britannia Show Cast thinking it was amusing to take control of the tender boat from the designated driver whilst it was in motion on the sea – surely this is deeply unacceptable as passenger safety in this moment should be of the highest priority? The same cannot be said for the waiters and bar tenders, as they never failed to welcome you and look after you whilst on-board the ship. However, what must be mentioned is the Entertainment programme which is run on board on a day to day basis, headed up by the Entertainment manager and her team. Whilst we appreciate that this was a Mediterranean cruise and for this reason, many passengers were happy to sunbathe and relax on the upper decks of the ship, this assumption cannot be made for all passengers on board. This resulted in the choice and variety of Entertainment on board being very limited for some people – if you liked quizzes and beauty demonstrations you would be fine, but other than that there is the odd film shown in a cinema which is unbelievably impractical seeing as it is on one level surface meaning you can actually only see the whole screen if you are sat on the front row. Also, you may be lucky to get a Guest speaker when on board- we were treated to two – yippee! One being Dale Templar who we enjoyed listening to and the other Dr Nick Slope who gave very interesting talks on a variety of historical periods and events ranging from the Re-conquest of Spain in the 14th century to the Ok Corral cowboys story in the USA. However, the Entertainment team let themselves down by there being a printing error on the Horizon magazine as Dr Nick had to do a talk on the Ok Corral despite him having a talk on Rome planned seeing as this was our next destination – it was amusing at the incompetence of the planning yet from another perspective deeply disappointing that staff seemed unable to apply common sense to situations – perhaps it may be an idea for the Entertainment manager to take time out of her busy schedule to proof read the Horizon magazine prior to distribution each night to eliminate these basic yet frankly embarrassing mistakes. Next, we feel it is necessary to mention the logistical issues that impede the smooth flow of passengers throughout the ship which is something that many people complained about during the 2 weeks with some, including myself, being unable to easily locate places on the ship even on day 13 due to the poor layout. For example, the mid-ship stairs abruptly end on Deck 7 meaning that you are left with no option but to either wait for a lift that is likely to be crammed full of people or walk to the front or back of the ship if you wish to continue on the stairs to reach the upper decks. This seems to be a major design flaw as surely stairs in the central area of the ship should take people to all decks and coupled with this, there are no clear signs, maps or staff available on hand to help if you are struggling to find somewhere, which is not exactly the excellent customer service you would expect on a P & O ship. Moreover, with 3600 passengers on board, the theatre is far too small holding just over 900 per sitting, resulting in the more popular shows having to be performed 3 times per evening to maximise people’s chances of seeing the shows, although this does not hide the fact that P & O realise themselves that this is a major issue in the ship’s design by creating a theatre that is so small. Like with any cruise, many people go in the hope of freshly sourced food which is served hot and is varied and suitable for all passengers on board. However, we felt there were a number of issues with particularly the Horizon Buffet restaurant including the fact that most of the food is bland, served cold and lacking variety, particularly in terms of vegetarian options. Also what annoyed many passengers was the system whereby the fruit juices were freely available at breakfast time from the self-service machines, yet for the rest of the day these were unavailable. This seems to be a money-making initiative which forces people to buy a drink from the bar tenders as water is only available free of charge, despite the high cost people have paid to go on a cruise whereby you would expect at the very least fruit juice to be made readily available particularly on a ‘school holiday cruise’. This moves us onto the initiative of charging for ice cream during the day despite it being a cruise designed to accommodate children during the holidays. A suggestion P & O could take on board is that instead of using Carte D’Or Ice Cream which is clearly an expensive brand, why not use a cheaper version of ice cream and make it the case that each child receives one free ice cream per day in the summer months whereby they advertise these cruises as being a ‘school holiday cruise’? Having been on the Celebrity Silhouette during the summer months, both ice cream and fruit juices were both available free of charge during the daytime. Finally, we would like to mention a few things about the staterooms. In terms of first impressions, the cabins are spacious and welcoming yet we soon discovered a few issues in terms of practicalities. For instance, we cannot understand how this is supposedly a ship designed for the British market yet there are European shaver socket plugs in the bathrooms, meaning that we had to ask for an adaptor. Surely for a ship that is advertised to appeal to the British market, appropriate steps would have been taken by P & O to ensure that things like shaver socket plugs are suitable for the majority that travel on the Britannia, i.e. people from the UK? Furthermore, in the latter part of our cruise we could not help but notice an unpleasant aroma from the bathroom despite it being cleaned regularly by our cabin steward. Again, it seems there is a problem, this time with the Ship’s sanitation and pipe systems causing this unpleasant smell, of which we were not the only people to complain about this. Overall, whilst on board Britannia, we could not help but think that this ship has major design flaws which resulted in logistical issues for many passengers that were not just noticeable by ourselves and also some of the ship’s personnel did not at times conduct themselves in a way that is to be expected on board the P & O ‘flagship’. I’m a Celebrity get me out of here! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Cabin A437. Far too small for two adults and one child; 3rd bed is lowered by steward each evening and is immediately over the main bed. It is unsettling for the sleepers who may as well be in a small bunk bed! Balcony was in need of ... Read More
Cabin A437. Far too small for two adults and one child; 3rd bed is lowered by steward each evening and is immediately over the main bed. It is unsettling for the sleepers who may as well be in a small bunk bed! Balcony was in need of painting and repair with rust and broken lock to next cabin. Could not get balcony door to lock. You can hear the next cabin's toilets flush and TV, etc. Drinks packages: Overpriced for what you get! Especially the soda package that promises soft drinks, mocktails and hot chocolate, however, there are just 5 mocktails to choose from that are basically slush puppies in a plastic child's cup; soft drinks are limited to fountain only cola and sprite. Overcrowded: The small pools are surrounded by deck chairs which are in no way sufficient for the vast number of passengers - hence people are up very very early to unfairly reserve them :( Also, the pools were full of small children all the time (mostly unsupervised) with teenagers and adults feeling uncomfortable to enter as you feel you are in a goldfish bowl - if you have any issues about your body shape or size you won't have the confidence to enter. Many women did not go in as everyone just stared (or ogled) at them! Entertainment: Even for cruise ship standards, the live entertainment was very poor. Any entertainer worth seeing was therefore in high demand by the passengers who, just like the deckchair reservists, arrived at the venues hours before to get the limited seats. Food: As you expect from a luxury liner the food was abundant with dining rooms (fixed or anytime), specialist areas (at extra costs) and large buffets. First-time cruisers will find this a good experience but others will compare the quality and variety against other cruises they have previously been on and realize the chooses, options and quality is less than expected. Fleeced: This ship seems to have a fundamental business policy that is all about making as much money as possible from the passengers who have already paid a small fortune already. Be prepared that every talk, event, shop, dinning room waiter, etc, will do their best to offer 'specials' that when totted up could cost you a lot of money. Staff: Most of the staff and crew will bend over backwards to assist and help. Obviously this is in accordance with the Princess training and expectations. However, it needs to be considered that their pay is low, they work long hours and work for 9 months of the year without a holiday. Their pay is also linked to a daily gratuity charge to each passenger on board. But are they getting all the tips you expect them to receive. You will not see any steward, waiter, cleaner or bar tender that is British or American which seems to be unfair... could this be that they are cheaper? Not sure. Remember that the gratuity is descretionary which means you can go to the reception on board and cancel it altogether and then tip who you want; you can pay less of the gratuity; you could opt not to include tips from your children, etc. It's up to you! Alcohol: You are not allowed to take any on board other than a 70cl bottle of wine per passenger. Any bought in the duty free shop or at shore will be kept until you disembark for home. This is the policy of all the cruise companies I've been with but I feel is nothing more than a way of forcing you to buy over priced drinks from their own bars! Tip: buy your duty free from shops on shore. For example, I bought x4 bottles of x1 liter of Smirnoff red label vodka in Gibraltar for £20 with the same product costing £44 on board... still cheap at 44 quid but remarkable at £20!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Where to start? This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were really looking forward to it. We have previously cruised with Celebrity, Holland America, Nowegian and Thompson. Embarkation - This was relatively smooth ... Read More
Where to start? This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were really looking forward to it. We have previously cruised with Celebrity, Holland America, Nowegian and Thompson. Embarkation - This was relatively smooth and no issues arose. Once on the ship we decided to upgrade our drinks package from Select to Ultimate, to our surprise the upgrade person told us we didn't have a select package - we then had to queue in the customer services desk and sort this out, they eventually said they would honour this and we paid for the upgrade - happy days! The next issue arose when we were waiting for luggage to arrive - we boarded at 11am and the luggage finally arrived at 1930, we had to chase for this and had to tell them that we had a speciality restaurant booked for 2000. The Room - We were located on deck 7 in a balcony cabin, this cabin was spacious and clean - the bed was a little too firm for us so we ended up requesting an additional mattress topper which helped a little. The room attendant was ok, we've had better, a few times he forgot to take away empty dishes. Food - The food in the Windjammer was very average, nothing special - we dined in the Windjammer only at breakfast and lunch - a lot of lunches were spent with a lighter snack from the Cafe on the Royal promenade, we enjoyed the snacks from here, they changed regularly and were in general good. Main dining room - I was sure I had booked anytime dining, apparently I hadn't and we (My Wife and I) were placed on a table of 14, the other 12 people were 2 families of 6, they were lovely people but as you can imagine, it wasn't the best waiting for 12 others as well as ourselves to be served and the evenings were very long waiting - after 2 nights I decided to ask the manager if we could be moved to a smaller table, this was acted upon immediately and we were allocated a table with 3 other couples which was fine, indeed the couples were fantastic and we all enjoyed the experience. The food in the MDR was again very average and the worst menu we had experienced on all our cruises, the waiting staff were atrocious and we ended up having to complain to the manager, on one occasion I was served cold breaded mushrooms Yuk! on another occasion, my wife asked for a glass of Moscato, 30 minutes later we were told they didn't serve Moscato, every bar on board had Moscato - not good enough. In general the MDR experience was terrible, the only good thing was the company we dined with. Speciality Restaurants - Sabor - Terrible, waste of money - I had read reviews for this restaurant and was really looking forward to the occasion - my Wife ordered the Cheese Fondue, this was so terrible that the cheese looked like a lump of Mozzarella and could not be penetrated - My Burrito was bland, I can honestly say I have had better from a kit - this was also the views of many people we talked to on the ship (at least 4 other couples/families). Chopps Grille - Brilliant, all you should expect, service great, food great, drinks great. Giovani table - As above. Izumi - We aren't lovers of Sushi but decided to give this a go, it was ok but I'm sure a Sushi lover would enjoy this restaurant, the presentation was great as was the service - just not for us. Johnny Rockets - Decent burger with great milk shakes and great service. Entertainment - We thought the evening entertainment was really good, one of the best we've seen of all the cruises we've taken. Daytime sea entertainment was lacking for adults (We are 50 years old). Pools - Getting a sunbed was almost impossible, there are clearly too many people on this ship and it was very obvious. Bars - Not good, the frozen drinks were terrible and inconsistent, there are a lot of bar staff which need some serious training. Disembarkation - We waited that long that in the end, we decided to join the queue 2 numbers early, it was farcical. This cruise was terrible, there were far too many children (we love children and have to cruise at this time as my wife is a teacher, so we have cruised many times before at this time) The children were running around like lunatics and there were no Crew members to stop them - shocking - one evening, the pianist had to stop the show to tell them stop running in the stairwell. In summary, this was not a good experience - we look at itinery foremost but will certainly put Royal Caribbean to the back of the queue if other lines have a similar itinery, and we will never cruise on the Navigator again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My husband and I, my daughter, grandchildren, brother and sister in law have just retuned from a two week cruise around the Med. Things the ship did well: The cruise director Rob was extremely good and worked hard to make sure ... Read More
My husband and I, my daughter, grandchildren, brother and sister in law have just retuned from a two week cruise around the Med. Things the ship did well: The cruise director Rob was extremely good and worked hard to make sure everything was well. The cleanliness of the ship is good, check in and out very smooth. The variety of entertainment etc. was very good with a truly outstanding ice show and ice skating sessions over the holiday. A very comprehensive menu in the Windjammer and super snacks in the café. Necessary improvements... Quality of food in the main dining room is mediocre at very best. The presentation is no better than you would get in a pub and the variety of menu is disappointing. There are 3 courses and no chocolates offered with coffee after dinner. Some examples of this are: Crackers served with cheese come in packets and were invariably broken. Mint sauce was offered and served from a supermarket jar. A main course of Quiche was served on a plate with a ramekin of lettuce leaves - that was it. It had to be seen to be believed. One evening the menu advertised outside the dining room was changed once we sat down to dinner. I wish I could upload photos. Lack of waiters means 10 minutes+ queue at the bar to get your drinks (and pay 18% gratuity for the privilege). No coffee, milk, shampoo or conditioner in the staterooms although they do provide general 'jallop' shower gel. We had to request bed linen change on day 7 and 8 as this had not been done. My daughter's stateroom was never touched in the evening. There is a laundry service ($30 per bag) but no laundry room for guests to do their own should they wish. The kids club is oversubscribed so its a first come first served system meaning my grand-daughter missed a pyjama party and film night she had been looking forward to. There is only one baby changing facility on the whole ship and we found this out from another guest. Guest services had told us there were not any on board and we should use the cabins. Babies in nappies or swim nappies are not allowed in the swimming pools or Jacuzzis. There are no cots available. Some of the towels are frayed and one even had a hole in. The safe instructions are in every language it seems but English. Little touches provided previously are now missing or chargeable - eg: ice sculpting, towel sculptures (although my brother in law and sister in law did get this every night in their stateroom), iced drinks on arrival back from shore excursions... The sail away parties were lack lustre and short lived. The childrens' section of the library had no books! We will never use on this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We've cruised RCI at least a dozen times and keep coming back for a reason. That said, this experience on NOS – despite some positives – was not good. We did the 14-day Mediterranean Beaches cruise. Below are the highlights and ... Read More
We've cruised RCI at least a dozen times and keep coming back for a reason. That said, this experience on NOS – despite some positives – was not good. We did the 14-day Mediterranean Beaches cruise. Below are the highlights and lowlights. The Good Embarkation and debarkation in Southampton were super-quick and very organized. We were on and off the ship in record time. Timeliness in and out of port. We usually arrived a bit early (never late). Getting on and off the ship was a smooth process and lines were minimal. Ports themselves were excellent -- generally easy to do on your own. Shore excursions (based on the 4 we took) were well run. The folks in the theater did a good job organizing the tours. Excursions left on time and, IMO, were worth the money. The Concierge. Really first rate and went out of her way to deal with issues and make the cruise more enjoyable. She did everything she could to remedy the items cited below. Had it not been for her, this cruise would have been a total disaster and we probably would never sail with RCI again. Chops. Food and service were excellent. Sabor food is no better than your local Mexican restaurant (not worth $25/person) and the free guac had a weird taste; Giovanni’s Table is not what it used to be in terms of menu or service. We like Izumi and you can eat well there for $30/person. Few obnoxious announcements (such as “Bingo, Bingo, Bingo”). On the negative side, the Captain liked to make port arrival announcements that went into every stateroom (even if system turned off) at 8 am or even earlier. The Bad Lack of bar servers. Part of the problem is that most of the UK cruisers have a drink package included so almost everyone is drinking – most going for complex mixed drinks. Waits of (literally) ten minutes at bars were routine – just to get a soda refill. At one of the pool bars, the servers seemed to be in slow motion – not sure if this is a way to reduce costs, they don’t care now that they no longer get tips per drink, or that’s just their usual speed. They were very careful to give no more (and sometimes less) than one shot of alcohol per drink. Lack of lounge chairs and chair hogs. Others have covered it more than adequately. Kids were always in the casino and neither the staff nor security made any effort to make them leave. In one case, I waited for a drink at the casino bar while they served a child no more than 10 years old. Lack of ANY information about the ports. No lectures or discussion beyond the TV programs about shore excursions. No info on where we were docking, what there was to do, etc. I understand that they want people to take excursions but a certain number of people aren’t going to no matter what. So don’t make every port a challenge. Maintenance was hit or miss. Carpets and furniture in our cabin looked new. However, the balcony paint was chipped. There was a permanent black ring in our toilet. The bidet (which we didn’t use) had an enormous (at least 12” long) X-shaped crack filled with dirt – gross. To be clear, this wasn’t lack of cleaning but rather lack of repair/replacement. There were numerous other examples throughout the ship (tables in Chops were chipped; signs hanging by one holder (vs. 2)), etc. We did, however, see lots of maintenance ongoing. No visibility of ship’s officers. On most ships, we see an officer out and about inspecting the deck, the pools, the restaurants, etc. On this cruise, we saw no one with more than 2 stripes (a junior officer) and precious few of those. Very little to do that doesn’t cost extra. This, combined with beautiful weather, drove people out to the pool decks and only worsened the chair situation. Entertainment. No pool band. A couple of days they had the lounge trio playing – an hour of sax solos just doesn’t cut it at the pool. Obviously trying to save money. The final production number was a tribute to Broadway. I don’t know how you can do a 50-minute show and the ONLY songs anyone recognized were Mr. Bojangles and those from Mamma Mia (last 3 minutes of show). The audience was bored and many walked out. Headliner entertainment included a ventriloquist and a hypnotist. There was not the usual “secondary” entertainment in the lounges other than the trio and a group playing dance music so often little to do at night. The Ugly Roaming bands of obnoxious kids with zero control by security (or their parents). Understand it’s summer break in the UK – that doesn’t mean that everyone’s cruise has to be ruined. Kids rang our cabin doorbell almost hourly. We complained to Security no fewer than five times and nothing was done until the Concierge intervened. And then it did stop. However, every night there were kids roaming the ship late into the night without any supervision, which resulted in (among other things), pushing every button on elevators, taking over elevators so no one (including wheelchair passengers) could get in, and shouting matches in various locales. One day I was on a ship’s tour. Reboard time was 1:30. Our bus arrived at the pier at 1:18 and we immediately boarded. When I arrive back at the cabin, I found my husband frantic. Why? Because Guest Services had called him about 1:00 to ask where I was. He told them I was on a ship’s tour and then worried that maybe something had happened to me. When he asked if I was indeed on the tour, they said they had no clue. I was later told that the ship knows (or should know) exactly who is on each tour – a case of the left and right hands not talking and causing my husband needless anxiety. And isn’t this why you take a SHIP’s tour?? One evening I stopped by a bar. The server took my Seapass card and told me they were out of glasses. He left to get some. 5 minutes later, another server arrived with glasses but didn't have my card. The original server was nowhere to be found. The other servers simply shrugged. Another 5 minutes went by. A senior officer was at the bar observing this entire situation, saying and doing nothing. I continued to ask where my card was. Eventually the officer left without doing anything. After a total of (literally) 15 minutes, the original server returned with my card, without apology or explanation. Overall When fully booked, the ship is far too crowded. We had the same experience last year on Explorer -- they've added cabins and reduced common area space which means everything is crowded and long waits for everything (elevators, drinks, pool chairs) are the norm. Although most of the crew were pleasant, they lacked passion or even interest. Quite a few complained to us about various crew issues (too many meetings/drills, not enough free time, etc.) – the first time I’ve ever experienced this. The ports were great but the rest of the cruise was nothing special and – sadly – wouldn’t cause me to book RCI again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Chose the cruise based on its destinations and also for its reputation of good food and comfortable beds which I have to say I wasn't impressed with. Cabins are noisy and aluminated with light from outside the cabin door which you ... Read More
Chose the cruise based on its destinations and also for its reputation of good food and comfortable beds which I have to say I wasn't impressed with. Cabins are noisy and aluminated with light from outside the cabin door which you can do little about. The beds are too soft and we both suffered bad backs and necks during our cruise. The entertainment provided on the stateroom television is excellent though and at no extra cost to watch a wide selection of the latest movies. Dining was uninspiring, not a wide selection of choice and generally very average. On occasions you would get a good selection of food. The specialty restaurants that you pay extra for though are excellent if you can afford it. The onboard Pizza that is available throughout the day is very good. Service seemed very hit or miss, sometimes felt the staff didn't have enough time or patience with you and other times they couldn't do enough. Activities onboard are poor, was sold on the idea of the putting green and golf simulator but the putting green was poor and I never saw a golf simulator. There was 1 table tennis table supplied with poor equipment that was usually occupied by children. There is supposed to be an adult only area at the back of the ship for swimming but found on occasions large groups of teenagers occupying the area. Movies under the stars though is probably the highlight of the ship, it's really good and always something on. Evening entertainment was hit and miss. Had about 2 really good nights from 14 where we saw a good show, musician or comedian but was left most nights pretty bored and would usually fall back on movies under the stars. Probably worth pointing out I'm in my early 30's and my wife is in her late twenties. The entertainment is definitely aimed at the older generation as is the ship in general I feel. There is a gym but I would say avoid unless you want to risk getting a bug. I saw that many of the crew members used the gym some of them coughing and sniffing over the equipment so not surprised I picked up a bug from here which I then spent the rest of the cruise trying to recover from. Hygiene on the ship was not of the same standard of other ships I've been on. I'm not convinced on these hand gels and believe only washing your hands properly is the way to sanatise yourself. Hand gel stands were placed near to food courts but not always used by passengers and very rarely used properly either I observed. The shore excursions provided are excellent and provide you with plenty of time to explore. However I was confined to my cabin due to illness for 2 ports so missed out of on a life long ambition on going to Florence & Pisa which was mainly the whole point of the cruise so I was pretty devastated to say the least. We were given a bottle of wine by passenger services as a small gesture for the problems we encountered which was nice but it won't make up for missing out on Florence. Worth pointing out that if you do get confined to your cabin you are supposed to get a team of cleaners to decontaminate your cabin to prevent spreading the bug. But the team that visited me just made basic errors, failed to clean the toilet or shower, didn't wipe light switches, we had to ask to get our bed linen changed not done automatically. The whole process seemed flawed and my wife was allowed to still walk around the ship but was expected to still use the shower room that hadn't been cleaned properly? So any surprises why illness gets spread around the ship? Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
First the few good points: Embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly on board without any fuss. Although we only had an interior stateroom it was spacious enough for our needs and what we expected. Some of the staff are ... Read More
First the few good points: Embarkation was very smooth and we were quickly on board without any fuss. Although we only had an interior stateroom it was spacious enough for our needs and what we expected. Some of the staff are fantastic, polite, always smiling and willing to help. The Movies Under the Stars is a nice feature but obtaining a sunbed is a nightmare which I will elaborate on later. Now the not so good points: Princess constantly tout the slogan "Come back new" but should really change it to "Come back skint" as this ship is constantly trying to get you to part with your money. Flyers everyday in your cabin selling spa treatments, painting auctions, photo studio offers etc. We should have realised what to expect when we went exploring around the ship and found the casino to be one of the biggest areas crammed full of gaming tables, fruit machines and other ways to get you to part with that dollar. A painting auction in the bar - really?? Hint: We are here to relax and enjoy ourselves not to be bombarded and pressurised into buy, buy, buy. We expected the drinks to be pricey from our experience on other ships but crikey their prices are extortionate to say the least and then they have the cheek to add a 15% service charge on top to cover tipping the staff even though you are already paying $12.95 each per day in tips. (Which coincidentally you can ask to be removed, even though they don't advertise this fact). We opted for the anytime dining option as we have used it before and allows you to eat at a time that suits you but for many nights we would walk down to the restaurant only to find a massive queue of people waiting for a table. Once we were seated at a table we found the food to be bland and of very poor quality. The speciality restaurants received rave reviews so they can produce good quality food that is edible. One day my partner's Apple Strudel arrived cold and when she told the waiter his attitude was it's meant to be like that and walked off. On arrival we had a problem with our luggage and had to jump through hoops to try and sort it out even though they promised a resolution very quickly. At the end of our 14 days they still had not sorted anything out as promised. The shore excursions are a total rip off. We booked to see the Trevi Fountain in Rome and when we arrived they were cleaning it so it was not in operation. Our tour guide admitted she knew that they would be cleaning it this morning so why not adjust the itinerary to suit and visit it later in the day? Our tour bus was meant to be a luxury coach but my seat was broken, not fastened to its anchor points and kept moving about. On our way back the air conditioning packed in on a day when temperatures were over 100 degrees with no windows or vents to open. (We did complain but never even received an apology). In Barcelona we were told it was quite a walk from the ship so we opted for the shuttle bus which you had to pay for (no surprises there). I asked how long we would be on the bus and was told 15 minutes, I timed it at just under 5 minutes!! The entertainment was abysmal, with singers, comedians and hypnotists the order of the day. Don't get me wrong some of the singers were great but I've seen better acts in a working men's club. To say they have a supposedly all singing, all dancing theatre they only put on 2 cabaret style shows the whole fortnight, which incidentally were excellent. Our cabin steward was the most miserable I've ever met, yet when we walked by other stewards they always had a smile on their faces and would always speak. Trying to get a sunbed was a task within itself unless you were prepared to get up at 6am and throw towels on 5 or 6 beds then go back to bed as some people were doing. Some were even putting towels on beds then going off the ship on a shore excursion hoping their towels would still be in place when they returned later that day. This ship is supposed to have had a revamp but it looks really tired and dated with paint and wood flaking off on the interior furniture. Our bathroom sink was chipped and the bed sheet had a hole in it the size of a 5p piece. The ports we visited were generally very good except Genoa. Why stop here? When I asked people what they thought of their day out in Genoa everyone replied with the same response ... *censored* Disembarkation was well planned but in reality the timing slots are that close together that in the luggage collection area it was chaos with many people wandering around bumping into each other trying to locate their luggage. So there you have it a honest and unbiased review of the Emerald Princess cruise liner. Overall we did enjoy ourselves but at a cost and with our experiences we have decided not to cruise with Princess again. There are better cruise liners out there to spend your hard earned money on! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
That's how I heard one fellow passenger describe the cruise, another called it Benidorm at Sea and while a little harsh its pretty close to how I found it. This was our first cruise as a family and we had been given some really ... Read More
That's how I heard one fellow passenger describe the cruise, another called it Benidorm at Sea and while a little harsh its pretty close to how I found it. This was our first cruise as a family and we had been given some really good reviews but it wasn't anywhere near the level I expected and couldn't touch the standards set by the large Mexican or other Caribbean hotels. With over 4200 passengers onboard it meant that the Windjammer restaurant descended into total chaos at breakfast and lunchtimes. Numerous families wandering around trying to find a table to sit at and a PA system repeatedly requesting that tables are vacated asap isn't what I was expecting. Neither was having to rise at 7am to try to secure a couple of sun beds. The days at sea were farcical as every bed and chair was taken by about 9 am. This meant that families took up positions on the sides of the pools etc and sat or lay directly on the deck in desperation. This is what I found particularly annoying. To be honest the bare minimum I expect on holiday is a sun bed and RC failed miserably. Another problem was the length of time it took to be served at bars. Especially at night. Waiting 15 min was not unusual before the overwhelmed staff got to you. I could go on and on, but my wife and I agreed that this was the worst holiday in 10 years. There were some positives eg night entertainment was good, but I found far more negatives overall. My two teenage children really enjoyed the cruise and the excursions, but I doubt we'll be back. There are far better alternative holiday options out there and RC really didn't live up to expectations. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Cruised with PO many times on the last occasion in the Carribean in December 2015 and vowed never to cruise again. Gave them one last go on Brittania taking my mother in law and daughter. Good points quick embarkation in Southampton and ... Read More
Cruised with PO many times on the last occasion in the Carribean in December 2015 and vowed never to cruise again. Gave them one last go on Brittania taking my mother in law and daughter. Good points quick embarkation in Southampton and disembarkation in Southampton, food menu and quality in main restaurants. That's It. Both cabins not clean and stink of wee, staff not adhering to hand cleaning policy until an outbreak of norovirus and announcement by captain. Entertainment limited and poor more like Butlins. Tender boats in Guernsey 1 hour wait after getting a ticket and 50 minute wait trying to get back. La Rochelle 1 hour wait for bus into town and 1 hour wIt to get back on. Staff are clearly unhappy complaining all the time. Could not sit down in any area without being pounced on by a waiter together you a drink. Ordered a deluxe package (paid in advance)nothing in room on arrival complained 3 times vouchers got sent to wrong cabin. Wife visited Spa and all the staff wanted was a tip, the person who massaged her even copied her signature fraudulently to put a tip on, we complained and got the tip reversed but that was it. Never ever cruising with PO again they are wanting your money whilst not putting the service or cleanliness in. I will not complain just not cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We've cruised many times before but always avoided RCI as we were concerned about the number of kids on board (even though we have 2 of our own). However, as our youngest had just completed his GCSE's we were able to sail before ... Read More
We've cruised many times before but always avoided RCI as we were concerned about the number of kids on board (even though we have 2 of our own). However, as our youngest had just completed his GCSE's we were able to sail before the main weeks of the Summer holiday, so, as we wanted there to be some older teens for him to meet, we thought RCI would be the best option. EMBARKATION The ship was late arriving from the previous cruise so this wasn't a great start. They had shuttles to Southampton which was OK - we went to Starbucks and used their wifi to watch the British Grand Prix and The Wimbledon final. So getting on board was hectic and very late. You can't really blame them for this as it was the weather on the previous cruise that caused the delay but it meant that there was no Sail Away party and no apology for the late departure - I though they could have at least given everyone a free drink! SHIP IS TIRED Overall the ship is looking its age and not particularly well maintained, nothing major just lot of little things that weren't quite right - automatic doors didn't always work; unpainted areas; light-switch not working properly; tv remote very iffy. Nothing to really put you off but not up to the standards of other lines we've cruised with. SUNBEDS One thing I wasn't aware of before we cruised with RCI was that sunbeams, or lack of them, seem to be an issue on RCI ships. On every other cruise we've done you could always get a sunbed, it might not be exactly were you want it but there were always a few free. Not here. We never got a sunbed on a sea day as they were ALL covered with towels by about 8:00am and even though some of these beds were unoccupied for long periods - hours some of them - staff never moved towels to free them up. We complained, as many, many others did, and the staff just said there was nothing they could do and we should get up and nab a bed at 7:00am if we wanted one! CREW The crew, with the exception of those at Guest Services, were generally pretty good, the problem is there weren't enough of them. I imagine they are saving money by reducing waiters, etc. Most times I had to go to the bar to get a drink because it might take 15 minutes or more before a waiter would come along - that's at the pool and the inside bars. Again, I've never experienced anything like this on other cruises. I assume that the Guest Services staff were continually being complaint to/at because everyone we talked to had complained about sunbeds. However, this is no excuse. My wife was told 3 times that shuttle tickets could not be purchased at Guest Services even though it was being announced that this is were they should be purchased. After my wife purchased the tickets at Guest Services and confronted the crew member who had 'lied' to her he said, the printer was slow at Guest Services so he was trying to get people to buy them on-shore - why he just didn't say this in the first place I don't know! FOOD Overall the food was good but I couldn't believe the opening times of the 'freestyle' restaurant. It closed at 9:00pm. I seem to remember other restaurants like this on other cruises being open almost 24/7, certainly until late in the evening. There was a small cafe that opened later but it was tiny and other than pizza didn't serve any hot food. ENTERTAINMENT Very second rate compared to other cruises, with the exception of the Ice Show and one of the guest acts. The cruise's own dancers/singers only did a couple of shows in the 2 weeks and they were nothing like as good as other shows I've seen on cruises. The live music around the ship was also pretty poor, the singer/guitarist made everything sound like a dirge and the pool band were playing to a backing track - no drummer or bassist. The house band and orchestra, to give them their due, were pretty good. ITINERARY This is my fault as I should have paid more attention before I booked but there was FAR too much time at sea, 6 days on 14 day cruise - it was actually 7 for us as we didn't dock at Nice due to the terrorist attack but that's understandable. It wasn't only the number of days at sea but the short time in each port, many of them were really only half days 12:30 to 6:30, or leaving at 2:30. Again, I put this down to cost saving - or trying to get people to spend more money on board. OVERALL I wouldn't cruise with RCI again as so much wasn't up to scratch and not as good as other lines. I've cruised with Celebrity a lot and maybe I shouldn't expect RCI to be as good as them but we've also been on P&O, Princess and Norwegian and they are all much better. Apparently, there will be 800 more passengers on the Navigator for the next 6 weeks due to school Summer holidays. I dread to think how the staff will cope as they couldn't cope with the passengers on my cruise. And you may have to get up at 5:00am if you want to claim a sunbed! (PS. Spell check keeps changing sunbeds to sunbeams so if there are any left above you know what happened.) Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was a relatively inexpensive cruise and it showed. While nothing was particularly bad it was not particularly good either. The food was mediocre both in the Waterside buffet and in the restaurant (Saffron). The entertainment was, in ... Read More
This was a relatively inexpensive cruise and it showed. While nothing was particularly bad it was not particularly good either. The food was mediocre both in the Waterside buffet and in the restaurant (Saffron). The entertainment was, in the main 'cheap and cheerful', certainly nothing special. The enrichment activities during the day were practically non-existent unless designed to part you with as much money as possible. The off-shore excursions were an absolute rip-off - a trip to Rome which involved driving up and down streets hearing about the sites for which Rome is famous without actually seeing them. (A complaint to the Excursions Manager was met by complete indifference and actual rudeness - they obviously have a lot of complaints!). This is not a cruise company I will ever use again. The request for a cabin near our freedom dining restaurant was ignored which meant my elderly parents had a very long walk each day. The staff spent three days cleaning the corridor carpet - both noisy and obstructive. The ship was very crowded. While it was always possible to get a seat in the theatre the other venues were a different matter and the design of the Havana meant that quite a number of seats had a restricted view. Fred Olsen are more expensive but they are much much better. Please be aware Princess Cruises and P & O are the same company and much the same experience. (Tried both) Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My wife and I have cruised with Royal Caribbean on 6 previous occasions, but never before out of the UK in July. While we will sail with RC again we will never again leave from the UK. While the itinerary was excellent and we could not ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised with Royal Caribbean on 6 previous occasions, but never before out of the UK in July. While we will sail with RC again we will never again leave from the UK. While the itinerary was excellent and we could not have asked for better weather, I'm sorry to say that a large proportion of our fellow cruisers would not be out of place lying drunk on the beaches of Magaluf, Limassol or Lloret de Mar. We have never previously experienced being woken in the early hours of the morning by teenagers running around corriders shouting and banging. While RC advertise that there is a 1am curfew for under 18s (which is, in any event, much too late), the policy is not enforced. We, at first, tolerated the situation but after being woken at 2.30am and then 3.55am, I complained to Guest Services. The situation improved for one night and then on the following night we were wakened by shouting at 4.30am. It was obvious that the parents of these children could not have cared less what their offspring were up to. We have cruised out of the USA, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in Europe and always had a wonderful time. On the one previous occasion we sailed from the UK it was in September and most of our fellow cruisers were American or Canadian. It says a lot about the British that many are unable to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner, recognising that everyone is not interested in drinking themselves into oblivion. On the plus side, the dining experience was very good. We had 2 excellent waiters in Walter and Ariel and we enjoyed the company of our table-mates. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The cruise was fine until we stopped in Gibraltar. My mother was sold "cultured pearls" that were fake. The company we bought them from was one " recommended" by Royal Carribean. The onboard jewellery shop told us 2 ... Read More
The cruise was fine until we stopped in Gibraltar. My mother was sold "cultured pearls" that were fake. The company we bought them from was one " recommended" by Royal Carribean. The onboard jewellery shop told us 2 others shocked to find their purchases were not what they thought. Be Careful of Jewels and Gems with Essardas Group. The cruise itself was ok. The food was ok. The staff were very nice. Friendly. The service was excellent. The pool deck was overcrowded, difficult to find an unoccupied deck chair. The hot tubs were full. The night shows were fully booked, if you didn't get a seat early, no show. We never saw one. Bingo was $27.00 . Movies on your cabin tv $12.99. We did an excursion to Fatima. We all enjoyed it, but it wasn't a guided tour. You were told a little on the bus on the way there, dropped off, and told where pick up was in three hours. We were given maps of the site on the bus on the way back??? Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I feel compelled to review this cruise for several reasons, firstly we are cruisers in our mid 40's travelling with elederly parents in their 80's. The service by the overworked waiters in the restaurants was 1st class, ... Read More
I feel compelled to review this cruise for several reasons, firstly we are cruisers in our mid 40's travelling with elederly parents in their 80's. The service by the overworked waiters in the restaurants was 1st class, however we discovered almost half of the passengers (1900) had opted for my time dining and we often felt rushed, this is not a criticism of the staff as they clearly had too many people to serve, for example coffee being served at the same time as the sweet, on one dining occasion we were told we would have to vacate our table within 1.5 hours or alternatively wait 2 hours to be seated. My Personal view on this is that the staffed were under pressure to clear tables as quickly as possible to accomodate the vast numbers of my time diners. The restaurant was tired with uncomfortable chairs, pitted glass In the mirrors and a dark environment, on occasion it was also draughty. The itinerary was change by RC at quite short notice prior to sailing changing the ports of Corsica and Sardina to Barcelona and Toulon. The ship didn't actually dock in Toulon and RC were charging $18 pp for a water taxi, we later discovered that the local water taxi was €2 pp. As we couldn't walk into Toulon given the ages of our parents I raised this with reception,who advised they would look into it for us. It took me 3 visits to reception to get a response. They eventually refunded $40 as on board spend as it didn't seem fair and reasonable that they would change a port, and then charge us additional cost for visiting a port we didn't book the cruise for In the first place. On disembarking the ship to board a tender at Villa Franche and having to wait over 10 minutes in an area of the ship that didn't seem to have any air conditioning I made a polite suggestion to a senior Staff member that they might provide chairs for the more elderly passengers to sit on, only to be met with an extremely negative approach by the staff member who proceeded to reel off their ticketing proceedure rather than welcoming a suggestion to make a customers journey more comfortable. An other elderly passenger thanked me for raising this as her husband was also struggling in the heat with no chair to rest on. So it was clear that there was a need. RC charge 18% service charge in the salon, which is not compulsory, I paid $39 for my Mum to have her hair washed and blow dried which took no longer than 15 mins, when I asked for the charge to be removed as we had already paid gratuities up front I was initially told that the 18% was 'part of the overall service' when pressed she deleted the service charge. I was made to feel uncomfortable and I am still not clear why this is charged. We are trying different cruise lines to see which we prefer and at the moment Celebrity are winning hands down, in service, attention to detail, food, dining experience, care of theolder passengers and entertainment. On one occasion a song was played pre show in The theatre and we were shocked to hear the "F" word in the lyrics and certainly not what we wanted to hear, again a clear failure on attention to detail. There seemed to be a lot of mobile air conditioning units at various places around the ship which were noisy and unsightly. The alarm went off in The middle of the night which was quite frightening, we were told a sensor had failed. We often had to walk a long way to find a seat and again this isn't ideal given the age of our parents. Other ships have less passengers per sq foot than RC giving passengers more space even though RC's ships are larger. I feel RC are definitely not looking for an older clientel and this showed on several occasions throughout the cruise. There were Various people were removed from the cruise for fighting we were advised there were also some thefts for cabins, several slips and trips and one lady even had a glass light fitting fall and smash on her head, causing her a lot of distress, surely overhanging glass items should be thoroughly checked and risk assessed to prevent matters of this nature, another fractured her elbow tripping up. Some maintenance work was carried out on deck using a lifting platform, this was done whilst passengers were sunbathing in the immediate area, the staff did cordon off the area but had the platform fallen the cordoned off area was circa 1 metre and the fall distance was approximately 5 meters it was a disaster waiting to happen. It is extremely unlikely we will travel with RC again for the above reasons. We see cruising through the eyes of a elderly person given the age of our travelling companions and at the moment RC do not do enough to assist this demographic. On chatting with some of the frequent travellers with RC it seems most of them have not traveled with other cruise lines so can't compare. My advise would be try them all as there is much better out there. All in all the bad far outweighed the good and this hasnt happened with RC's comparators that we have sailed with I recent years. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
First and last time from Southampton. A Cruise of two halves, traditional cruisers and those who usually go to the Costas for an All inclusive. Never have I seen so many tattoos and people the worse for drink on a cruise. There were ... Read More
First and last time from Southampton. A Cruise of two halves, traditional cruisers and those who usually go to the Costas for an All inclusive. Never have I seen so many tattoos and people the worse for drink on a cruise. There were rumours that a couple had been thrown off the cruise at Majorca for fighting but I did not witness it. I met many Independence cruisers who had been on the ship many times, but they said this was their final cruise on the Independence. The ship needs an overhaul, carpets and cabins need replacing. We were never able to get a sunbed unless you were prepared to get up at 7.00 am. On bad weather day's there was nowhere to sit down inside. The itinerary was poor with some ports only for half a day which did not give you long enough to see the sights. The food was good and plentiful the waiting staff were excellent, but unfortunately for them, some of the passengers had communication problems! We paid our gratuities in full but others did not, so the system is not fit for purpose. Entertainment was mediocre, on the last evening there was someone masquerading on the stage as a comedian who gyrated with a balloon under a t-shirt, but I have to point out that he was catering for a certain type of clientele on this cruise. He would have been heckled off in a social club. In general, the cruise was a disaster for us, I feel we wasted our money, if you are not able to get a sunbed what is the point of a holiday. We normally go from Europe, but to be honest with the cost of gratuities I am not sure we want to cruise again. I am now disillusioned with cruising. I can not describe how relieved we were to get off that ship and get home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Having had the great pleasure to travel on IOS in a Junior Suite for our honeymoon eight years ago, when she was brand new ship, we were very much looking forward to this, our second voyage on this same vessel. The first was an absolutely ... Read More
Having had the great pleasure to travel on IOS in a Junior Suite for our honeymoon eight years ago, when she was brand new ship, we were very much looking forward to this, our second voyage on this same vessel. The first was an absolutely amazing experience that led us to our decision to book this latest cruise on the same ship, again in a Junior Suite. But oh, how very different this experience was. It started with the cabin. Still spacious with seating area, but the sofa’s (which can be used as a sofabed) support had all but gone. So much so the only way to enjoy it was to place a pillow on it before you sat down. The bed was so hard that I had to use two spare duvets from the closet on top of the mattress before it was even bearable. The two sun loungers on the balcony both had missing slats making it impossible to use them. However, our cabin attendant did change these upon request. Our kettle did not work and also had to be changed, but again at our request. Gone were the bathrobes, again as Diamond members we were able to request them, but only found that out by chance after several days – we were told by the cabin attendant that they are not offered unless people ask, so take note. The room was never cleaned properly. We leave our cabin very tidy, beds straightened and all items put away each day. Yet despite all this the attendant most days simply smartened up the bed, put in new towels but not even dust surfaces. Biscuit crumbs laid undisturbed for several days and no bleach was used to scrub the toilet which over the two weeks developed a grey water-line ring around the bowl. The windows were never cleaned – and this goes for the whole ship, the balcony glass was filthy both sides on departure and was never cleaned throughout the entire voyage. Only the restaurant windows were ever cleaned in port. Now to the dining experience. We selected “any time” dining, as we prefer the casual café, however on the second formal night we decided we would like to participate and use the formal dining room. Realising this might be busy, as they suggest, the night before we made an advance reservation for 8pm. On arrival at the Romeo & Juliet dining room allocated for such guests, there were two queues – one had at least 80 people in it, the other about 30 and no signs to indicate what each was for. We assumed the shorter might be for those with reservations, but after waiting 10 minutes in this line with no movement, upon asking at the desk we were told that we must join the end of the longer queue to be assigned a table. So a reservation counts for nothing. It was now 8pm. So we waited a further 15 minutes, the queue went no-where and so we gave up and went back to the cabin, changed out of the formal wear and made our way to the Windjammer café. Turning to this venue – this is nothing short of a zoo. It is a very stressful experience at best, made so much worse by the continual closure of at least half of the seating area plus it's much reduced opening hours vs. our previous trip when it was open till 11pm. No late night snacks here anymore. The only food outside the current hours is a slice of pizza, a pre-filled roll or a pre-packed salad from Sorrento’s in the promenade shops. Or you can purchase a pie for a cool $4.95 at the pie shop or pay $6.95 cover charge for the pleasure of simply occupying a table at Johnny Rockets. Unlike our last trip on this ship when there were literally teams of staff clearing tables, taking drinks orders, on this occasion there were far less employees and it was a challenge on each occasion, not only to fight to find yourselves an empty table, but to then attract someone’s attention in order to get served a drink from the bar. Several staff seemed content to hide themselves behind the service areas, others stood around just chatting to passengers and seemed to purposefully ignore anyone trying to get their attention leaving their colleagues to do the work.. There appeared to be a total lack of good management in this area. The food was mediocre, very, very repetitious, and tepid. Think school dinners and you will have the picture. Previously we had nothing but praise for the service and the food in this restaurant but the cutbacks are very evident and the staff morale seems much diminished. Furthermore, on our last 2 days at sea we were interrupted on both days, while eating, to answer questions as to how we would be rating the overall cruise experience and the Windjammer specifically. We were also requested to ensure a good rating was given or it might affect staff jobs as they would be blamed for any misgivings. I took some delight in giving some fairly honest feedback here! On the pool deck, the sprinkles ice cream machine constantly looked a mess as the drip tray was full of melted ice cream and discarded cones, utterly revolting in its appearance. As for the entertainment: what happened to the singers and dancers? They appeared at the set-sail show then we did not see them again until the penultimate cruise day. Other shows were very varied in quality, Bobby Davro was excellent as were several other entertainers, but there were also some very lack-lustre performances where we decided to leave well before the end. In fact the farewell show was nothing short of pathetic with a comic magician whose jokes were ancient and who should restrict himself to infant’s parties. The two ice shows were good. This cruise was supposed to go to Mediterranean Beaches with only one port listed as a tender – Villefranche. This port alone, though quaint, is a waste of time, there is nothing there and after an hour, or even less, it’s done with. Why they don’t ferry you to Nice just around the corner is a mystery – or is it, the excursions there cost in the region of $100 per head. Another example of how it’s all geared to money: the berth in Toulon was in fact NOT in Toulon, so to get to Toulon you had to take a ferry across the water at a cost of $18 per head and if you don’t pay for it on the ship, but in the terminal, you board last. Why – you still buy the ticket from Royal Caribbean’s own desk in the terminal at the exact same fare – but because you have a sticker rather than a ticket you have to wait until all the other passengers board. Again, in both Barcelona and Palma, the cruise berth is so far from the centre that you need to take a coach, at a cost of $5 and $10 each respectively. It is possible to walk at both, but it’s about 2 miles each way at the first and over 3 at the second. The only place we arrived and actually saw a beach was Malaga. So, what really stood out from this trip is that RCI have made severe cuts in many areas and it's not good. With all the silly quizzes, competitions such as belly-flop, sexiest male, etc., just to fill up the cruise compass, plus then being “clapped in” by the staff as we entered the Windjammer as it opened one lunchtime, alongside the constant chanting of “washy-washy” (i.e: use the alcohol gel) as you enter this venue, the whole cruise experience with RCI is fast being downgraded to what feels like a 1970’s holiday camp experience – and I know what I am talking about as I worked a summer season at one of the major ones during that time. The synergies were utterly depressing. As diamond members we had intended to maintain our loyalty to RCI by eventually reaching Gold, but after this trip we will not be booking again – preferring the Cunard experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
junior suite- spacious but so shabby grubby grouting the bars had shabby furnishing, some guests more Benidorm than cruisers - poor standard of dress- some wandering around in pyjamas and slippers food good staff as always ... Read More
junior suite- spacious but so shabby grubby grouting the bars had shabby furnishing, some guests more Benidorm than cruisers - poor standard of dress- some wandering around in pyjamas and slippers food good staff as always a delight having cruised with RC about 4-5 times previously was horrified at this experience., Royal promenade shabby and full of tacky shabby stuff- Michael Kors bags around 2oo dollars more expensive than in UK and the sale bags looked as though they had come from the market- on the plus side peaceful in some bars but not enough seating. when you pay a lot of money you expect better. celebrity here we come - back to elegant cruising without the hard sell tat of this Benidorm on sea ship . shore excursions awful- no time to sit a while and enjoy cities- marched from one sight to another without getting ambiance of city RC what has happened so so sad Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
After a reasonable coach transfer to the port, we entered the terminal and were met with what seemed to be the entire compliment of 4000 passengers standing in line waiting for security processing and once through that another long line ... Read More
After a reasonable coach transfer to the port, we entered the terminal and were met with what seemed to be the entire compliment of 4000 passengers standing in line waiting for security processing and once through that another long line waiting zigzag style for their sea pass and room assignments, little did we know that these lines were apparently a taste of things to come. Everything, and I do mean everything has to be queued for, particularly the lifts, a total joke! The excursions, meet 30/40 mins before and sit waiting for stragglers. Sadly, most of the excursions felt rushed and the local guides we experienced were pretty poor. Although the ports of call on the whole were good, once again, huge queues attempting to reboard the ship. The theatre, get there at least 45 mins before the show starts or you will not get a seat. Breakfast, ask for a table of two and you get a table of two, however, you are seated with other tables of two which they then treat as a table of eight or more, and you wait for food. The buffet, total chaos, full of ignorant rude halfwits that push in, bump you around without apology and sit nattering after eating, causing a shortage of tables for those wandering round looking for somewhere to eat their slop. Fortunately we only had to use the windjammer a couple of times due to the restaurant being closed when the bus tours returned to the ship. The ship is a marvellous piece of engineering that they try to cram as many people in as possible. I can't help thinking that if she carried fewer passengers and charged a few dollars more per head to maintain profit margin, it would make for a far better experience with the public areas less crowded, rather than feeling like a Turkish bazaar. By far the best asset is the customer facing crew, room attendants, waiters and the like, every single one of them are a total credit to customer care. if it hadn't of been for their positive friendly attitudes and happy smiling faces, I fear this cruise would have pushed me over the edge, literally! The food in the restaurants is good, with plenty of choice always served hot and Jonny Rockets, it's hidden away on the starboard side aft, deck 12, deserves a mention for outstanding burgers, well worth the small cover charge. The cabin, outside with balcony, was comfortable and adequate although I imagine larger people may struggle a little with the small bathroom/toilet. Disembarkation from the ship itself was actually a little ahead of schedule, only to be met with,,,, surprise! a huge throng of people attempting to retrieve their suitcases from a poorly laid out collection area, chaos rules again, I'm sure it must have violated some health and safety rules. After paying out so much money and waiting so long to go on a relaxing cruise, I must say, my expectations were most certainly not met. Would I go again? well I know what to expect if there were to be a next time, never say never but probably not. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Agree with virtually all the comments people have made rating this cruise as a 2, it was a let down! Even though Independence of the Seas is a huge vessel and a technical wonder, they are packing too many people into her, making for a bad ... Read More
Agree with virtually all the comments people have made rating this cruise as a 2, it was a let down! Even though Independence of the Seas is a huge vessel and a technical wonder, they are packing too many people into her, making for a bad experience. Relaxing? I think not. Overcrowded public spaces, sun loungers so close you could smell your neighbour and the joke 'no reserving rule' not enforced. Lifts were an age of a wait, some appeared to be out of service quite often, not helped by kids playing in them unattended, pressing all the buttons, no wonder people had a wait. The windjammer buffet,, reminiscent of animal feeding time,,,chaos! Thankfully the restaurant was a place of refuge, good food and excellent attentive service from Dane and Torrington, both a pleasure to have met, good work gentlemen. Our room attendant Dimitru kept the cabin clean and was always surprising us with towel animals. Great cabin location on the aft with a good sized balcony, another place of refuge, and wonderful views of the wake. If you don't like crowds, then Independence of the Seas is not the ship for you, choose a smaller vessel with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our second cruise, the previous one being 8 years ago on Ocean Village which we enjoyed except for lack of formality - mainly that all meals were buffet and there was no dress code. We chose Independence of the Seas as we ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the previous one being 8 years ago on Ocean Village which we enjoyed except for lack of formality - mainly that all meals were buffet and there was no dress code. We chose Independence of the Seas as we wanted to avoid flying and baggage limitations and could park next to the ship in Southampton. We were also led to believe that the ship was large enough to comfortably accomodate 4,000 passengers whilst still catering for different expectations. The cabin was comfortable and the staff were very pleasant but overall, it was like a floating holiday camp designed to extract every last penny from its passengers. Deck 5 is a promenade deck full of shops selling jewellery, shoes, sun glasses, handbags, Ben & Gerry's ice cream, pies, pub and wine/champagne bars, duty free shops etc. etc., and very often trestle tables would appear down the centre selling cheap watches, trinkets and chains all of which would be actively promoted over thier public address systems. During the 2 day cruise to the Med from Southampton deck 5 was a continual rush hour. Deck 4 contained a massive gaming area which seemed to be little used and there was an art gallery with regular art auctions held where little was sold. All of these facilities came at the expense of passengers by not having any sizeable and quiet lounge areas for relaxation with a coffee and a drink. There was always music being played whether inside or around the pool areas. Sun loungers were so closely packed together that you had to crawl onto them from the front which proved very difficult if not impossible for older people. There are two banks of four lifts foreward and aft which are inadequate for the number of passengers, especially when sharing with a number of wheel chair bound passengers and it was not uncommon to wait five minutes before finding space in one. For dining, we were allocated a table in the King Lear restaurant which was waiter service and the quality and variety of food approached "fine dining". However many passengers seemed to prefer the Wind Jammer buffet restaurant which was open for meals throughout the day. We heard several passengers refer to it as the "elbows restaurant" due to the high number of people selecting food and trying to find a vacant table which then had to be guarded by one person whilst the other members of their party selected their food. Communication with the outside world was very expensive, wanting about $19 per day for Internet connection not including down sreaming which was extra. This was for a single device, multiple devices were extra. However, I saw very few people using tablets and couldn't help thinking that if Royal Carribean weren't so greedy and charged say $5 per day per device, they would receive far more income than the current arrangement. Another expensive commodity was water @ $5 per bottle which one was't allowed to bring on board. However iced water was freely available in the restaurants. People I spoke to resented the high charge for bottled water which could be bought at a fraction of the cost during shore excursions. We didn't watch any entertainment other than two ice skating shows which were excellent. They did put on some singers and dancers on the walkway over the promenade deck which was very second rate. The tv provided in the cabins only offered programs promoting future cruises, selling shore excursions, four / five world news stations, cartoon stations and American shows which seemed be repeated day after day. Once again we were steered towards to film station which charged $11.99 per film. Embarcation at Southampton from the car park couldn't have been easier and the two shore excursions that we arranged before the cruise were good, and the organisation for leaving and returning to the ship was well organised. In summary the ship appeared to be designed as a money making exercise with few relaxation areas on offer as they don't generate income. On the cruise that I took passengers were predominately older generation with many wheel chair users and we felt that the onboard facilities were more suitable for the younger generation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I have cruised before on Royal Caribbean and had a lovely time. This time I took my partner who was cruising for the 1st time ... and he says his last and mine too with Royal Caribbean!!! We queued at Southampton to get on the ship ... Read More
I have cruised before on Royal Caribbean and had a lovely time. This time I took my partner who was cruising for the 1st time ... and he says his last and mine too with Royal Caribbean!!! We queued at Southampton to get on the ship and that was the beginning of queuing for England !!! We queued to watch shows, we queued to go for breakfast, we queued for lunch ... we queued for everything including getting off the ship at the end of the cruise. The cabin was Ok and the bed comfortable and our cabin attendant was great. Meals were a bit hit and miss with tepid food!! Shows were Ok Other cruisers I spoke to had issues with this cruise and these were seasoned cruisers with 40 - 50 cruises u see their belt !!! I would also like to know why 18% service charge is made for beverages whether alcoholic or not and if you go to the bar yourself why is t the service charge reduced or cancelled altogether?? Will not be going on a Royal Caribbean cruise again anytime soon Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After a reasonable coach transfer to the port, we entered the terminal and were met with what seemed to be the entire compliment of 4000 passengers standing in line waiting for security processing and once through that another long line ... Read More
After a reasonable coach transfer to the port, we entered the terminal and were met with what seemed to be the entire compliment of 4000 passengers standing in line waiting for security processing and once through that another long line waiting zigzag style for their sea pass and room assignments, little did we know that these lines were apparently a taste of things to come. Everything, and I do mean everything has to be queued for, particularly the lifts, a total joke! The excursions, meet 30/40 mins before and sit waiting for stragglers. Sadly, most of the excursions felt rushed and the local guides we experienced were pretty poor. Although the ports of call on the whole were good, once again, huge queues attempting to reboard the ship. The theatre, get there at least 45 mins before the show starts or you will not get a seat. Breakfast, ask for a table of two and you get a table of two, however, you are seated with other tables of two which they then treat as a table of eight or more, and you wait for food. The buffet, total chaos, full of ignorant rude halfwits that push in, bump you around without apology and sit nattering after eating, causing a shortage of tables for those wandering round looking for somewhere to eat their slop. Fortunately we only had to use the windjammer a couple of times due to the restaurant being closed when the bus tours returned to the ship. The ship is a marvellous piece of engineering that they try to cram as many people in as possible. I can't help thinking that if she carried fewer passengers and charged a few dollars more per head to maintain profit margin, it would make for a far better experience with the public areas less crowded, rather than feeling like a Turkish bazaar. By far the best asset is the customer facing crew, room attendants, waiters and the like, every single one of them are a total credit to customer care. if it hadn't of been for their positive friendly attitudes and happy smiling faces, I fear this cruise would have pushed me over the edge, literally! The food in the restaurants is good, with plenty of choice always served hot and Jonny Rockets, it's hidden away on the starboard side aft, deck 12, deserves a mention for outstanding burgers, well worth the small cover charge. The cabin, outside with balcony, was comfortable and adequate although I imagine larger people may struggle a little with the small bathroom/toilet. Disembarkation from the ship itself was actually a little ahead of schedule, only to be met with,,,, surprise! a huge throng of people attempting to retrieve their suitcases from a poorly laid out collection area, chaos rules again, I'm sure it must have violated some health and safety rules. After paying out so much money and waiting so long to go on a relaxing cruise, I must say, my expectations were most certainly not met. Would I go again? well I know what to expect if there were to be a next time, never say never but probably not. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016

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