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110 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was our 4th cruise with P and O and will be our last. In general the ship is very tired and a little tatty around the edges. CABINS Bed linen very worn and pillows had musty smell. Carpet not clean in corners. Corners of skirting ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with P and O and will be our last. In general the ship is very tired and a little tatty around the edges. CABINS Bed linen very worn and pillows had musty smell. Carpet not clean in corners. Corners of skirting falling off. Burn in rather dirty settee. Mirror in bathroom needs replacing as silver coming off. Light over bed falling apart. Balcony not very clean and several nights we had the dividing screens between balconies rattling badly. Tried to wedge myself. Avoid cabin E038. PUBLIC AREAS Carpets in some areas very worn and possible trip hazard to elderly. Stairways could be cleaner with lots of fluff and dust in corners. DINING Freedom dining OK but a bit chaotic and very slow. On several evenings it took over 2 hours to serve evening meal. Many people complaining and consequently missing shows. Food-well have eaten better, quality again declining. Self service food on deck 9 could only be described as poor and more like canteen food. Always chaos here with nowhere to sit. Avoid!! CREW Mostly Asian but could not fault. Best part of cruise. ENTERTAINMENT Only fair. Ships entertainment crew good with Headliners excellent. Tom O'Conner first rate. Elton John tribute act fair but was not playing piano! Headliners Killer Queen was first class. OVERALL Will not cruise with this company again. Seem to have their hand in your pocket at every opportunity.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Have today returned from 12 nights around Western Med and am very disappointed. First went on this ship in 2010 and loved it. Now not so sure. Yes it was August but the ship was over run with out of control children. Not too bad during ... Read More
Have today returned from 12 nights around Western Med and am very disappointed. First went on this ship in 2010 and loved it. Now not so sure. Yes it was August but the ship was over run with out of control children. Not too bad during the day but at night time it was a joke. They were everywhere and no one was controlling them; least of all their parents who were nowhere to be seen. They were going around in gangs and doing the things that gangs do: noise, bad language; pressing all the buttons in lifts, leaving food and plates in the lifts, on staircases and everywhere in between. Pool side at night was a war zone with them throwing food and drink all over the place. We found the hygiene standards had dropped seriously. Tables were left uncleared for hours, very few were ever wiped leaving sticky surfaces so you were wary of putting your belongings on them. There was a noticable lack of staff and those who were visible did not seem to have any heart in their job. Food left a lot to be desired. We used the Windjammer and were amazed at the lack of choice. Every day was the same food: sushi, pasta, and curries. If we were lucky there was fish or a meat pie but the vegetables as potatoes left a lot to be desired. Desserts were the same every day as well. Half a cup of jelly, carrot cake and fresh fruit. A different steamed pudding was available with watery or lumpy custard but no-one had thought to cut the sponge into sections so after 5 minutes it resembled a disaster zone. The whole cruise was likened to a booze cruise as a large majority of guests felt it was their duty to get as drunk as possible using their drinks package deals. On the last night security had to be called to a lone middle aged woman who was sitting in the smoking lounge abusing everybody in there. She was absolutely slaughtered and had to be removed back to her cabin. She managed to upset several people with her behaviour and we were later told she had done the same just 2 nights earlier in the Dog and Duck pub. Security handled her and the situation extremely well but maybe they should have stopped selling her drinks sooner. This sort of behaviour is not what we expected on Royal Caribbean and it has certainly put us off going again with them. Entertainment in the Lyric Theatre was very poor. One night they showed a film despite having the on deck big screen and a viewing room (small cinema)   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just returned from a 6 day cruise with Independence of the seas. Not a great experience.... The ship is a great looking ship, which has some great concepts, but I am afraid is let down by 3rd rate service and extremely poor food. Caveat ... Read More
Just returned from a 6 day cruise with Independence of the seas. Not a great experience.... The ship is a great looking ship, which has some great concepts, but I am afraid is let down by 3rd rate service and extremely poor food. Caveat (the above statements are not reflective in Chops Grille). Grand Suite was ok, nothing like the suites on P&O or the Sky Suite on Eclipse. MDR - Rest in Peace, this concept cannot continue for much longer, extremely bland and poor quality food, most of the tables we unoccupied after the first night (probably due to poor quality) Windjammer - Like a free for all at butlins, service and food is shockingly bad Bar Staff - didn't seem to understand the word thank you and all of them obviously have serious problems with their smile muscles. At every opportunity the boat felt like an exercise in "how can we get the customer to spend on their Seapass?" The shows - magician was good, the Ice show was great, chopps grille was lovely and being in a suite we could have a cooked breakfast in chops grille every morning which was amazing, Both Celebrity and P&O have far superior customer service and Food Royal Caribbean is now off my potential list of future cruises which is a shame considering the IOTS is not a bad ship, just has some god awful service and food.....   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Our first taste of RCL We had booked this a year in advance to coincide with my partners birthday, being day of departure, we had booked a balcony cabin for the cruise. I will start with the good points , check in smooth,no waiting, cabin ... Read More
Our first taste of RCL We had booked this a year in advance to coincide with my partners birthday, being day of departure, we had booked a balcony cabin for the cruise. I will start with the good points , check in smooth,no waiting, cabin first rate, all the goodies I had pre booked ,birthday dressing of cabin and romance package duly waiting , the ship has the wow factor and that's all I can say are the good points . Before I get onto the moans, we have written to RCL and for the other members who have the same moans I would recommend doing the same as you only have 28 days duly found in the very small print of the brochure. Here goes with a just a few ,as I know you will get bored. Room - Only tea provided no coffee , had to keep restocking ourselves as was two much trouble for room attendant. Only shampoo in bathroom - had to go and buy some from RCL shop at $5 each. Food - if you are looking for world class cuisine - forget going on a RCL cruise- We were in freedom dining ,booked a table for two and got duly placed upon a table of eight being 4 tables 6 inches gap between them !! Second night was formal night one thing we both enjoy - very few participated , jeans and shorts galore in the dinning room. apart from my partner being nearly knocked flying twice by waiters we were seated . 3 course meal unlike the 5 and 6 on other cruises - we both had the same main and the food was served cold ,dessert was in a plastic dish on a warm plate and coffee was served before even dessert arrived . We also had the wine package , a separate list is given to you but upon ordering was told we were out of stock on the second night !!! It became tell me what you had got. Next evening , waiters tried there hardest to take us out whilst walking to table , both had the same main - one came with yellow cauliflower one didn't - said to waiter and his answer was its saffron coloured !!! we gave up after that and decided to dine in windjammer for a few days until one breakfast being served a undercooked egg and that was the last straw on the food - there were more issues leading up to this . Also you could have cottage pie ,curry and pizza at the dinning room on an evening. Chops grille - service appalling to say the least, I accidentally knocked my bread knife off the waiter duly picked it up and took it away, never seen again until I had to be asked , part of order not arrived ,no coffee offered unlike another table glad we hadn't paid - part of the compensation after complaint to guest services ( For some reason was always busy ) Room service Had it twice,once normal and once part of romance package, both times got it wrong ,along with cold coffee on the first one . Destinations- Don't believe what RCL tell you about arrival and departure - your always 30 mins later and 30 mins sooner than stated if you are lucky .Priority of departure is always given to RCL booked excursions. Cannes was via tender and we had a 7 hour trip booked with shore excursions, due to the farce of RCL this ended up 5 hrs with only 30 mins free time in Monte Carlo. I was surprised that fights didn't break out as there was no organisation or direction on what to do at any of the departure points .Obviously port fees expensive as one sea day we cruised at 8 knots all day and night. Bars Not enough, couldnt get a seat or drink in some after the show .Drinks package don't do it !!! Staff- My god I could write endless here but lets just say don't expect a friendly welcome or to be treated well . Tips Applied to everything , we got stung for 18% when we visited the spa as a birthday treat , even had to pay for a glass on deck because we were on the drinks package !!! This above was not the only problems , they have gone in our 4 page letter This was our first and last time with RCL   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Pre ship booking good, helpful and full information for first time cruisers. Embarkation easy except nobody to tell us just unload cases from taxi and they will be picked up by porter, found out from old time cruisers (OTC). Directed to ... Read More
Pre ship booking good, helpful and full information for first time cruisers. Embarkation easy except nobody to tell us just unload cases from taxi and they will be picked up by porter, found out from old time cruisers (OTC). Directed to lunch at Conservatory Free-for-all, Grab and Stuff felt a bit pathetic holding tray and wandering around to find place to sit. From then on we called it the Pigs Trough. Cabin comfortable only problem 2 welcome folders I picked up top copy which just had a few sheets in order forms for laundry, cabin service etc. didn't bother with other copy, until days later when I knocked it over and wealth of information fell out, Regarding all manor of things that would have been so helpful from day one. We also did not know about the daily newspaper at reception, or the directory Until the last day when I was completing questionnaire asking how helpful had it been. It was printed in the back of a glossy magazine full off expensive adverts. No body on hand from day one to introduce first timers to normal routines. As I stated in the questionnaire todays first timers could be their next gold badge customers. ACTIVITIES well suited to older age group and OTC.s most were held in bars where drinks were being offered continually, making one feel uncomfortable, if keep refusing. Very unhappy of the lack of following the dress code evenings, especially the Black Tie and Themed. Nights The Service offered by ALL the ships crew was 100% First Class. Only took one P&0 shore excursion a short 2 1/2 hr round Casablanca v. disappointing could have been anywhere in the Med or up market parts of any city apart from 15 mins at the Hassan ll Mosque Stunning, CERTAINLY NOT WORTH 70 GBP DINING Apart from the Conservatory dining was a pleasure, we dined in the Peninsular and also 3 nights in the Ocean Grill, which was superb 1st Class ++++. ENTERTAINMENT Very good, Headliners very professional , apart from being cancelled on the 2nd night as the voyage was too rough for the dancers and orchestra to perform. Guest acts excellent. OVERALL Very unpleasant sailing as weather very poor (no fault of the company). Many many regular cruisers were confirming our feeling that the whole Cruise was based on making a profit, and apart from the food and service in the seated dining, the theatre and cinema, everything else carried a price tag. Certainly felt too much maintenance being carried out throughout the voyage. i.e a day spent by scuba divers in La Coruna ? doing what below sea. Painting and cleaning often closing part of Promenade Deck. A day of constant banging with a man trying to release a Pod winch followed in the afternoon with 2 men banging away. 2 nights in Cadiz for repairs on the pipes, cancelling our visit to Malaga. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I should start by saying something about P&Os pricing policy and the manner in which they attempt to (and often succeed) in encouraging passengers to book early with the lure of discounts. Do not be fooled in to booking early!! We have ... Read More
I should start by saying something about P&Os pricing policy and the manner in which they attempt to (and often succeed) in encouraging passengers to book early with the lure of discounts. Do not be fooled in to booking early!! We have 2 youngish teenagers and therefore need to have adjacent rooms. As a consequence we booked on release of the cruise 18 months ago. We discovered a month before sailing that the getaway fare (as opposed to the advantage fare) we would have saved us as a family around £6,200. We were given a price promise at the time we booked that we would receive on board credit if the cruise was discounted. When I contacted p&o about this they informed me this did not apply to the getaway fare. So in effect no price promise at all!!! On board the quality of the food is not what it once was. Whilst still very edible it doesn't excite - at dinner one night we order in the main restaurant turkey. It was from a factory produced condensed turkey roll. It was not recognisable as turkey. When we ordered lamb chops they were very good but with very little meat on them one would have expected 3 or 4 chops to a serving. There were 2 on my plate and one on my wives. Generally there are less waiting staff than in the past but they still work extremely hard, are very pleasant and nothing is too much trouble for them. The evening entertainment on board is reminiscent of holidays 15 years ago, superfamily holiday style in Ibiza. The comedian from Wales was a particular low light. He told the one about Mr Fog and mist.....and the Geordie policeman. Need I say more? Before I mention our biggest disappointment it's worth mentioning that the glass house and Sindhu are very good and reasonable value. I heard positive things about 17 too. My wife and I booked the retreat (P&Os exclusive adult spa area) at a cost per couple of £450 for 17 nights. This entitled us to us an area where there were whicker sun beds with proper sun mattresses, waiter service with a light breakfast and lunch. The area also offered plenty of shade - ideal for us both. We wanted to avoid the usual agro that comes with sunbed wars on holiday. Sadly p&o had spotted a way of making even more money out of people. Firstly they told us it was open from 8 till 8. We rise very early so this wasn't great but we were told we could sit on the loungers before opening times. The broucher indicated that the pool around the spa was for the exclusive use of the spa residents. Whilst we didn't know this when we book the retreat on board it was a big disappointment for other guests What p&o then did was to sell treatments to passengers allowing them to use the retreat on their day of the treatment which meant the retreat was very busy on sea days (not what we had been sold), those passengers who had booked the retreat who were not early risers were left without sunbeds in the sun and p&o then decided to rigidly enforce the opening times (which they changed to 9 to 6) by placing a security guard at the entrance to the retreat. At the time of writing we are midway through our cruise. We are waiting to see if p&o will offer any refund. The ports of call are excellent and cruising remains my favourite holiday. It is just a shame that p&o have lost their way so much. If you can book for the right price and have modest expectations in terms of food quality and service you won't be disappointed. If you last travelled on p&o more than 12 months ago and you are returning to them I fear you will be in for a disappointment in the way that my family and I have.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
I have sailed on quite a few different cruises so I am basing this on what other experiences I and my family have had on the different cruise lines.I have also never been on the IOTS but have been on the sister ship (Liberty) twice in the ... Read More
I have sailed on quite a few different cruises so I am basing this on what other experiences I and my family have had on the different cruise lines.I have also never been on the IOTS but have been on the sister ship (Liberty) twice in the past. Someone a few weeks ago put on a review saying Indy has lost its 'Wow' factor, and I couldnt see how and what that meant. However, I now totally agree with it and it truly has lost its wow factor. Embarkation: The easiest I have ever seen, we turned up at about 12pm and were on the ship by 12:15. We used the Platinum queue but the normal queue seemed very short too. Cabin: We went for a category X guarantee due to the price being much cheaper than picking our own inside. The room was a huge disappointment, myself and my partner have done over 100 nights combined on Royal Caribbean and they chose to give us a room at the back of the ship, down a hidden corridor, with a connecting door (meaning only half a sofa) and also lots of noise and light from the room next door. The bed was also quite uncomfortable (always falling apart) because of the quality of the foam topper. For a cruise line that prides itself on its loyalty scheme, we should of maybe had a better location room (im not even asking for a window etc, just a better location). Another thing to add was that our shower was absolutely useless, it would keep changing speed and heat and was impossible to set at one temperature. I was also dissapointed that the TV doesnt fully turn to face the bed, so its hard to see from one side. The bed was too big that you had to climb to get onto the right side as the gap was smaller than a letter box. The room service menu was ripped and the wardrobe space was quite small. Also, our TV was temperamental and only worked after pressing a button about 10 times. Finally, we were given the gold and platinum loyalty booklets but no loyalty pin, also my girlfriends booklet was just 4 A4 sheets of paper with the vouchers printed on as they had obviously run out of the real things. Public Rooms: Fairly good as standard with the Royal Carib Freedom class, the pub (dog and badger) was very very overcrowded at all times and bars like Olive Or Twist was pretty empty most of the time. The casino was okay and the piano lounge (schooner's) quite good. The library was quite spacious and all the other rooms pretty decent in size and space. Entertainment: This is where the Independence let us down. The shows were just very very poor bar one of the ice shows and a hypnotist, the others were quite boring. The piano guy in schooners was okay and the other bands were just so repetitive, somewhat monotone and very boring. The planner wasn't much better and all the deck parties/promenade parties had been condensed to about 1 night with just loud music being played. The deck party used the normal bars and one of the bands, normally they would have different drinks on sale, BBQ food on deck and cool flashing gimmicks and the cruise director getting everyone dancing. This was very different, you could see cutbacks being made right in front of your eyes. The club would shut early and most of the ship would be in bed before midnight. - the last cruise I did (liberty) had things starting late at night. The ice show ticket distribution annoyed me too, they made you get up at about 8 to go and queue on the promenade (all the way from one end to the other)to collect tickets to the shows (which only started on day 6). It just seemed a huge mess and a waste of our time. I dont know why they didnt just let people do it once they got on the ship. Food: Overall very good, we did go to the steak restaurant twice (after getting one go free) because they messed up the first time we went, we had a burnt and then frozen steak. The second time was much better and great food. We didnt try giovannis as the food seemed too similar to normal. The MDR was great and so was the buffet. I still think Royal Caribbean have some of the best meals going. We also had Johnny Rockets twice which was fun and nice too. Sorrentos pizza was one of our main places to go late and night and it was usually very good although we could never take a whole pizza to the room as they didnt have pizza boxes and one night we ended up eating an off blu-cheese dressing. Ports of Call: We had basically all the main Spanish ports + Vigo & Gibraler and Considering we could only really get as far as Western Europe in the two weeks, the ports were quite good. However, some ports we had to pay $15 for shuttles (I think 5/8) and that really annoyed me. They should be doing it at cost price if they feel they need to charge in the first place. Fitness centre / pools: The fitness centre was good, but absolutely Sahara desert-style boiling hot, it was unbearable to run and I had to have breaks doing weights. The selection was quite good though and the gym was a good size. The pools were also quite good, there were 3 big ones and these were adequate. They were all on one deck though and this meant it was always very very busy. Pathways were pretty narrow too meaning it just took ages to get across deck. Sunbeds were also quite hard to come by. Everything else: Some things were good some were bad. We liked the film channel on the TV and also the bathroom size was quite good with a decent size shower (even though it was useless). The afternoon snacks were good as well as sorrentos pizza. The promenade was more annoying than fun, as seattles coffee would fill up and overflow into the middle of the promenade (this also happened with the pub) and then the super intelligent cruise sales team would put their massive stalls out in the middle so that it left gaps either side big enough for one person at a time. This would then cause a funnel head at each end of the promenade and became very annoying. Overall I would try it again but probably not from Southampton. It seems like Royal Caribbean dont care too much for Brits and would rather cut back on stuff. Whenever I have gone from Europe or the Caribbean it has always felt so much more personal and fun, rather than mass produced. It really does seem that we were on more of a hotel and they only had a few decent shows. I used to love going to shows every night, and on Princess they are always top notch, but this time we were quite let down. I am also extremely disappointed in the loyalty program. We have been on so many Royal Caribbean cruises and will now start going on Princess again as they treat past guests so much better. Although I loved the Liberty both times and loved the Navigator a few years back, this has really left us with a bad taste and we now want to try a different liner next year (and also go from europe). It was almost as if they decided that they would make up for us not having to do any flying by cutting out good enjoyable things. Lastly, a lot of people failed to dress up and especially so on formal night and they were always allowed in the restaurant to eat! Disembarkation: Dont you just love having to checkout at 8 am!! they really ruin the holiday feel by kicking people off so early. We were out the room at 8am (that was quite late compared to others) and saw most rooms were ready for the next passengers already. Therefore, they can obviously let people off later as the next lot are not on til like 12pm. They also made you aware that you were getting off that day by smashing around below our cabin and cleaning all the corridors all day and all night!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I have sailed on quite a few different cruises so I am basing this on what other experiences I and my family have had on the different cruise lines.I have also never been on the IOTS but have been on the sister ship (Liberty) twice in the ... Read More
I have sailed on quite a few different cruises so I am basing this on what other experiences I and my family have had on the different cruise lines.I have also never been on the IOTS but have been on the sister ship (Liberty) twice in the past. Someone a few weeks ago put on a review saying Indy has lost its 'Wow' factor, and I couldnt see how and what that meant. However, I now totally agree with it and it truly has lost its wow factor. Embarkation: The easiest I have ever seen, we turned up at about 12pm and were on the ship by 12:15. We used the Platinum queue but the normal queue seemed very short too. Cabin: We went for a category X guarantee due to the price being much cheaper than picking our own inside. The room was a huge disappointment, myself and my partner have done over 100 nights combined on Royal Caribbean and they chose to give us a room at the back of the ship, down a hidden corridor, with a connecting door (meaning only half a sofa) and also lots of noise and light from the room next door. The bed was also quite uncomfortable (always falling apart) because of the quality of the foam topper. For a cruise line that prides itself on its loyalty scheme, we should of maybe had a better location room (im not even asking for a window etc, just a better location). Another thing to add was that our shower was absolutely useless, it would keep changing speed and heat and was impossible to set at one temperature. I was also dissapointed that the TV doesnt fully turn to face the bed, so its hard to see from one side. The bed was too big that you had to climb to get onto the right side as the gap was smaller than a letter box. The room service menu was ripped and the wardrobe space was quite small. Also, our TV was temperamental and only worked after pressing a button about 10 times. Finally, we were given the gold and platinum loyalty booklets but no loyalty pin, also my girlfriends booklet was just 4 A4 sheets of paper with the vouchers printed on as they had obviously run out of the real things. Public Rooms: Fairly good as standard with the Royal Carib Freedom class, the pub (dog and badger) was very very overcrowded at all times and bars like Olive Or Twist was pretty empty most of the time. The casino was okay and the piano lounge (schooner's) quite good. The library was quite spacious and all the other rooms pretty decent in size and space. Entertainment: This is where the Independence let us down. The shows were just very very poor bar one of the ice shows and a hypnotist, the others were quite boring. The piano guy in schooners was okay and the other bands were just so repetitive, somewhat monotone and very boring. The planner wasn't much better and all the deck parties/promenade parties had been condensed to about 1 night with just loud music being played. The deck party used the normal bars and one of the bands, normally they would have different drinks on sale, BBQ food on deck and cool flashing gimmicks and the cruise director getting everyone dancing. This was very different, you could see cutbacks being made right in front of your eyes. The club would shut early and most of the ship would be in bed before midnight. - the last cruise I did (liberty) had things starting late at night. The ice show ticket distribution annoyed me too, they made you get up at about 8 to go and queue on the promenade (all the way from one end to the other)to collect tickets to the shows (which only started on day 6). It just seemed a huge mess and a waste of our time. I dont know why they didnt just let people do it once they got on the ship. Food: Overall very good, we did go to the steak restaurant twice (after getting one go free) because they messed up the first time we went, we had a burnt and then frozen steak. The second time was much better and great food. We didnt try giovannis as the food seemed too similar to normal. The MDR was great and so was the buffet. I still think Royal Caribbean have some of the best meals going. We also had Johnny Rockets twice which was fun and nice too. Sorrentos pizza was one of our main places to go late and night and it was usually very good although we could never take a whole pizza to the room as they didnt have pizza boxes and one night we ended up eating an off blu-cheese dressing. Ports of Call: We had basically all the main Spanish ports + Vigo & Gibraler and Considering we could only really get as far as Western Europe in the two weeks, the ports were quite good. However, some ports we had to pay $15 for shuttles (I think 5/8) and that really annoyed me. They should be doing it at cost price if they feel they need to charge in the first place. Fitness centre / pools: The fitness centre was good, but absolutely Sahara desert-style boiling hot, it was unbearable to run and I had to have breaks doing weights. The selection was quite good though and the gym was a good size. The pools were also quite good, there were 3 big ones and these were adequate. They were all on one deck though and this meant it was always very very busy. Pathways were pretty narrow too meaning it just took ages to get across deck. Sunbeds were also quite hard to come by. Everything else: Some things were good some were bad. We liked the film channel on the TV and also the bathroom size was quite good with a decent size shower (even though it was useless). The afternoon snacks were good as well as sorrentos pizza. The promenade was more annoying than fun, as seattles coffee would fill up and overflow into the middle of the promenade (this also happened with the pub) and then the super intelligent cruise sales team would put their massive stalls out in the middle so that it left gaps either side big enough for one person at a time. This would then cause a funnel head at each end of the promenade and became very annoying. Overall I would try it again but probably not from Southampton. It seems like Royal Caribbean dont care too much for Brits and would rather cut back on stuff. Whenever I have gone from Europe or the Caribbean it has always felt so much more personal and fun, rather than mass produced. It really does seem that we were on more of a hotel and they only had a few decent shows. I used to love going to shows every night, and on Princess they are always top notch, but this time we were quite let down. I am also extremely disappointed in the loyalty program. We have been on so many Royal Caribbean cruises and will now start going on Princess again as they treat past guests so much better. Although I loved the Liberty both times and loved the Navigator a few years back, this has really left us with a bad taste and we now want to try a different liner next year (and also go from europe). It was almost as if they decided that they would make up for us not having to do any flying by cutting out good enjoyable things. Lastly, a lot of people failed to dress up and especially so on formal night and they were always allowed in the restaurant to eat! Disembarkation: Dont you just love having to checkout at 8 am!! they really ruin the holiday feel by kicking people off so early. We were out the room at 8am (that was quite late compared to others) and saw most rooms were ready for the next passengers already. Therefore, they can obviously let people off later as the next lot are not on til like 12pm. They also made you aware that you were getting off that day by smashing around below our cabin and cleaning all the corridors all day and all night!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We have just returned from a two week cruise on the Oriana X310 to the Western Mediterranean. This was our first cruise and was a huge learning curve.We had booked valet car parking at Southampton, which went like a dream. We walked away ... Read More
We have just returned from a two week cruise on the Oriana X310 to the Western Mediterranean. This was our first cruise and was a huge learning curve.We had booked valet car parking at Southampton, which went like a dream. We walked away from the car, the porter took our luggage and we went through a very smooth check in. All staff very welcoming and efficient. Our luggage turned up very promptly a little bit later. A wonderful start!We found our cabin - a outside cabin on F deck – just forward of reception. The cabin was a good size with plenty of storage space with a window, personally we would not have booked had only inside cabins been available. The cabin was very clean and kept in excellent order by our Cabin Steward, Eleanor, who was very personable and attentive.We had made an early booking and were able to choose our dining time and table size. We were on a rectangular table of 6 by the window in the first sitting (6.30pm) in the Oriental Restaurant. The waiters tended to be quiet and efficient going about their business. We would like to think that some planning went into selecting table companions as ours were within a few years the same age as ourselves, they were also seasoned cruise passengers.We had been really looking forward to dressing up on the Black Tie nights and the Smart nights and those nights did not disappoint as the majority of passengers were dressed to the “nines”. We did find that nothing special had been arranged in the dining room or for the entertainment, it was no different to all the other nights, this was a disappointment as we thought the dining room would be decorated for the black tie nights.There was always something to eat on the Oriana. The quality of the food in the Oriental for the last two nights was what we had expected, however the other nights were disappointing with the quality being on par with pub food, indeed I have had better at J.D. Weatherspoons! We tended to breakfast in the Conservatory, which is basically a canteen, however the service and quality of food was fine, but due to the noro virous sickness bug which was evident for the whole of the cruise all food and utensils were served to all passengers by the crew. We did dine in the Marco Pierre White Ocean Grill one night for a supplement – the food and service here was what we had expected for the Oriental! and was really good. We also dined one night in the Serrento – the Italian restaurant I would not recommend this to anyone very poor overall.If we had lunch we did not have afternoon tea and vice versa – we always had these in the Conservatory and we found this fine – the pastries are to kill for!All waiters were always fast and efficient and excellent at clearing and cleaning tables in all the restaurants.The price of drinks in the bars was reasonable and the range was OK. The waiters were very attentive, however after the first few days we did start asking the waiters to give us time to make our choice as we were finding that as soon as we had sat down there was a waiter there to take your order.We thought there was a very good range of entertainment to suit all tastes, including films like Les Miserable, Quartet, Argo, Lincoln and Skyfall which were spread out over the week at different times of the day, so if one session was inconvenient to you, another time would suit. The entertainment team worked extremely hard as did all the restaurant staff.However the same could not be said of the Reception staff when they could be bothered to speak you. We were on the 6.30pm dinner siting, on one day we returned tour cabin a little later than planned and when we went to use the shower we found that we could not adjust the temperature which would have resulted in having a scolding hot shower, as our cabin was positioned very close to reception I went and reported this fault, they assured me that they would report this and get a plumber/engineer along to rectify the problem this was 6.10pm I did explain that we were on the 6.30 dinning siting and we needed a shower, it was suggested that we use the public showers on deck 12 – these are the showers adjacent the pools on the sun decks. After 10mins I did phone reception to enquire when the plumber would arrive to be told soon. I went back to reception at 6.30 to be told the plumber was on their way. I went back again at 6.35 spoke a different receptionist and waited while she phoned maintenance to report he fault – a plumber eventually arrived at our cabin at 6.45 – it took him just 2 minutes to fix the problem as far as he was concerned he came as soon as the fault was reported. Essentially the reception staff just did not care.The Vanguard Band and the Oriana trio were both disappointing as neither appeared to have a pre-arranged playlist and held a discussion between each number as to what they would play next! As we had both been looking forward to dancing the night away with ballroom dances we found this disappointing, on the bands breaks there was only the choice of sequence dancing. Although there was a more than capable DJ on board (Adam) who was excellent and would and did play all requests. However he was used very sparingly by the entertainments manager. There are two “dancing” venues – the Harlequins and the Pacific Lounge –it would have been nice if Adam had been on at the Pacific Lounge every other night from say 9.30pm.We had pre-booked 4 shore excursions, however due to border issues with the Spanish at Gibraltar the Gibraltar trip was cancelled, the three trips we did the trip at Alicante for the Moors was the worst – the guide was Polish and although seemed to know the history etc. his main concern was explaining the sangria and tapas lifestyle he enjoyed. The Barcelona Gothic quarter walking tour was very good indeed with a knowledgable guide who was prepared to take time to answer questions. The third trip was a walking tour of Lisbon – I could not make this trip but my wife did and she reported that the standard was similar to Barcelona. We plan to revisit both Barcelona and Lisbon for extended weekend visits.We passed the captain several times during the cruise, usually in the evening and although we generally spoke saying “good evening” he did not respond even with a nod of his head, thus giving a very aloof attitude. However he did speak on the last black tie night when he thought we were going to have our picture taken with him – we did not!!As stated before noro virus was an issue for the whole cruise. I suffer an allergic reaction to Shellfish and the symptoms are similar to noro virus. On the one night a seafood platter was on the menu, naturally I did not chose this, however I believe that my meal was cross contaminated as at 2.00am the following morning I was being sick etc. As requested by the medical team I reported this and was promptly confined to my cabin, I did try to explain to them my issue with shellfish – they were not interested and reminded me that I could be forcibly disembarked at the next pot of call if I did not stay in my cabin – this resulted in me missing a visit to Gibraltar and Lisbon! In discussions with the medical team it was apparent that as far as they were concerned the presence of noro virus was entirely the fault of the passengers!!The issue was noro virus was evident for the duration of the cruise with constant announcements from the captain and others reminding us to wash our hands, use the alcoholic hand gel and to try and use our cabin toilets. There were also additional cleaning teams around the ship wearing face masks and forever washing hand rail sand other hard surfaces. However it is apparent that this virus is present on the ship and despite the efforts from the passengers and crew the issue has not been resolved. maybe it is time the ship was taken out of service and have all soft furnishings replaced then have the whole ship steam cleaned – that would cost money!Disembarkation was just as easy as embarkation we were off the Oriana by 8.45am and home by 10.15am we live just 45 miles away from SouthamptonSo all in all, a reasonable experience of a first cruise! However overall the cruise did not live up to expectation.Will we cruise again – yes but only after much more research on the ship and cruise line and preferably from Southampton.Will it be with P and O – unlikely Will it be with Princess Cruises – possiblyWill it be on the Oriana – I will stay at home if this is the only choice!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our first ever cruise and it was booked by my parents to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary;as well as my two parents we were travelling with my sister and her two children plus myself, my wife and our two children. To be ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and it was booked by my parents to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary;as well as my two parents we were travelling with my sister and her two children plus myself, my wife and our two children. To be honest nobody but my mum and dad were looking forward to the cruise as it just isn't the kind of holiday the rest of us would normally choose. Sadly it lived up to our expectations! We took our car and had a wait of about 30 minutes to drop off our bags; once dropped off we had to move the car to the nearby car park and walk to the terminal (not valet parked as expected). Then the queuing started in earnest -- a queue to get in the building, then a queue to check-in (even though we had checked in online which apparently means nothing); then a queue for customs/security, then a queue to get on the boat. Once on-board our cabin was ready but we were shocked at the size of it -- we were on deck 3 in an outside cabin with a porthole. The room was tiny, just the width of a double bed, then a small area with a 2-seater sofa, a dressing table and chair, a small wardrobe and the integral shower/toilet room. The kids beds pulled down from the ceiling above our bed but the attendant told us the kids under 6 could not use the bunk beds meaning that, had we abided by the rules, either myself our my wife would have had to use the bunk and the other share a bed with our son. With the beds down it was very claustrophobic. The attendant put the beds up and down each day for us though. We could not fit all our clothes in the wardrobes/drawers and although we squeezed one case under the bed there was no storage space for the other, further reducing the space in the room. We also got noise from drunks using the open deck above ours to smoke until the early hours of the morning, often shouting or singing. The sheets were not changed during the 14 days were there. Our first meal was in the Windjammer and initially we were pleased by the array of different foods on offer -- by the end of 14 days though it had all became very 'samey' with the same choices regularly on the menu for lunch and dinner. It was also often crowded in there too, with tannoy announcements encouraging you to eat quickly and vacate the tables for other guests. Cleanliness is an obsession on-board and I guess Ithis is a good thing with so many people on-board. Everywhere you go there are sterilising fluid dispensers for washing your hands and upon entry to any restaurant you are given a wipe or a squirt of sterilising fluid. Taking your photograph is another obsession -- they take your picture at every opportunity, and without permission, even of the kids at the swimming pools. Pictures are then put on display for you to buy (circa £12 a pop btw). We really didn't want to go to the formal dinners and I hadn't taken a suit (I wear one every day for work and do not want to wear one on holiday thanks) however my parents were keen so I donned a shirt and tie and went along for a couple of dinners in the main restaurant. Whilst there were many who went the whole hog with dinner jackets, kilts and ballgowns etc. the dress code was only 'recommended' and there were others less formally dressed and some in jeans, even on the official formal nights. Food in the restaurant wasn't impressive, mashed potato seemed to be the only potato dish available (and it tasted like Smash to me), food was luke warm and everything very bland. The service was over the top and, to me, cloying, others may like that level of pandering but it made me feel uncomfortable. We were on the MyTime option and had no problem booking a table at a suitable time. Whilst my parents ate in the restaurant every evening we took most of our meals in the Windjammer which was ok, self-service so portion size and choice of what goes on the plate is up to you -- the main problem here was the number of people, although we always seemed to be able to find a table somewhere. Like many places on the boat there was no restrictions on unsupervised kids and several times we saw groups of kids messing about in the Windjammer, throwing food, taking over tables even though not eating or being noisy. We didn't try any of the speciality restaurants because there was an extra charge of $30 per person each time you wanted to do so. The first two days were at sea and we found little to occupy ourselves, quizes, bingo and art sales seemed to be all that was on offer and the weather wasn't suitable for using the pools. The ages of the children in our extended family group were such that each would have been in a separate kids group had they been interested in joining but to be honest none of them were -- the activities on offer seemed rather playschool like -- crayoning seemed to feature a lot. Evening entertainment for younger kids was almost non-existent, or for families with younger kids really. Most nights the theatre show didn't start until 9:00pm so we only saw two shows on the couple of days when it started at 7:00pm. One of them was a comedian who was ok but the other was a Queen tribute band who, although seemingly loved by everyone else, I thought were terrible -- Queen but made 'safe' or without an edge if you know what I mean. There was no cinema but films were shown occasionally in various locations but again the times were too late or were in the middle of the day when you were on-shore. We did catch both ice shows, which I am sure were good if you are into that kind of thing but to me it was rather dull. Most evenings we ate our dinner and were back in our (tiny) cabin by 8 -- and it wasn't even like you had any decent tv channels either, perhaps why I managed to read three novels. There were bars but beer and wine was ridiculously expensive and we refused point blank to be ripped off. The cheapest wine in the restaurant was $10 USD a glass. You couldn't take drink on board with you and any drink purchased onshore was taken off you when you got back on the boat and held until the end of the holiday. Even stuff bought at the boats duty free was held until the last day. The swimming pool area was ok although every day all the loungers were reserved with towels despite signs everywhere saying this wasn't allowed. There were no life guards and nobody supervising the pools so nobody was taking any notice of the do's and don'ts -- dive bombing was common place, and I even saw kids eating ice creams in the jacuzzis and pools. Many of the H2O area features were often not working which was disappointing. When the weather was good enough our eldest did try the climbing wall and the flowrider which were good (although you had to queue) but at 5 our youngest was too small -- there was a mini golf which he liked when it wasn't too windy. Towels were provided at the poolside but were charged at $25 usd each to your ship pass should you fail to return one. Information about the ports of call was very poor -- no help for those wishing to make their way independently, just really trying to sell the ships excursions or shuttle bus services. I would encourage everybody not to use the shuttle buses as they are a total rip-off. Often only transporting you a short distance from the port to the town centre they are charged at $14 usd each, including children. In at least one instance (Malaga) the bus they put you on was a public bus which the ticket via the driver was just 4 euros return. Tips in our instance on the MyTime package had been pre-paid but rather than being given vouchers to hand out as you felt justified you got a letter saying the tips would be distributed to our waiter and room steward equally but we only used the restaurant a couple of times so would have preferred the room steward got more. They still give you some envelopes should you want to give extra gratuities. Gratuities are charged at the same rate for kids and adults alike -- I think it was something like 5$ usd per person per day minimum, over $600 usd in total for the 9 or us. Of course on the last day there is a guest survey to complete with questions carefully structured to tell them what they want to hear and just 2 or 3 lines available for free comment -- a waste of time. Nothing asking about value for money which if asked I would have to say is extremely poor for the amount we paid. In summary -- everything is expensive, the room is pokey and basic, and there is little to do in the early evening or on sea days. There is plenty of food but it's rather bland. Ports are OK but not enough time to see much and if you want to travel on local buses then research it beforehand. Dress up for dinner if you want to but don't be surprised if others don't bother. And finally 'don't forget to wash you hands' (its a phrase you will come to hate as its a talking reminder activated on motion sensors in all the toilets on-board), Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
3 swimming pools - childrens pool very large geared for young kids and babies. Second pool dominated by children geared for older kids so not really suitable for adults. ADULT ONLY POOL - Tiny 20 people and its packed unsuitable for ... Read More
3 swimming pools - childrens pool very large geared for young kids and babies. Second pool dominated by children geared for older kids so not really suitable for adults. ADULT ONLY POOL - Tiny 20 people and its packed unsuitable for swimming. Alcholic Drinks very expensive - drinks package available but still very expensive 8 USD for a Pint of beer 7 - 12 USD Glass of wine. SPA prices much higher than UK Prices. Dining rooms theatre and general interiors very cold due to air conditioning. Theatre - Lower standard of entertainment in comparison to other cruises some highlights buy not many - on board singers and dance shows almost of amateur standard. Ships orchestra very good they saved the poor quality singing and dancing of the theatre shows. Children allowed in most bars and theatre till late and allowed unsupervised in cinema Not a relaxing cruise outside areas particularly were always congested. Sunbeds rare as usual. Appears that the lowest cost ports of call were chosen VIGO MALAGA ALICANTE inparticualar not very interesting or at all scenic. Ships entertainment for Sail offs was not very memorable Food very good and staff friendly - ship very clean and well maintained. Cruise director was good and made the final 2 nights entertainment very memorable. Plenty of things to do but overall my least favourite cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I took my family for a cruise along the Western Med in Sept 2011 on the P&O Ventura. I chose the Ventura as its is widely halied as a British Family cruise ship which I cannot fault. From what I can gather most of the passengers had a ... Read More
I took my family for a cruise along the Western Med in Sept 2011 on the P&O Ventura. I chose the Ventura as its is widely halied as a British Family cruise ship which I cannot fault. From what I can gather most of the passengers had a good time, however there was a simmering air of under expectation and certainly talking to some of the passengers there was a air of disappointment hoering over the ship. Why would this be. From my point I can understand. Although the Ventura has not been vruising for many years there as feeling of tirdness about the boat,its not any thing specific but the ventura just feels like its been arounf for alot longer and is quite worn in, when compaired to some other cruise ships. It was very apparent that P&O have embarked upon a process of cost cutting, to such an extent that we struggled to get sufficient drinking water in our room until I actually complained. The food was really quite appalling, I grew up eating school dinners but some of the stuff that was laid out was really even below that. I have to say I have never tased Oats porridge like that before. One always got the feeling that the catering staff were watching to see that passengers didnt help themselves to too much food in the buffet resturants. While I am at it I should also mention that the staff were a constant enigma to me. Often staff showed such indifference, it was just quite sad to see. The amount of time I saw staff mucking about together and ignoring passengers was far too often, there was just a feeling that P&O training has somehow slipped, as the customer service was plain and simply awful. P&O have obviously tried to create an environment that sets traps for passengers to part with money and for the uninitiated it would be very easy to find oneself stuck with a very large bill at the end of the cruise, although this is no different to other cruise operators P&O seem to have conered the market of being blatanly obious about it. On the plus side though were the ports opf calls were well organised, the reception staff were very professional and the cabin staff we had was impeccable. For myself I will cruise again, but never on P&O, this is not for me, Considering I parted with few thousand pounds for this cruise I know I cand do better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The check-in went well (we later heard that P & O Staf were hired in for this) and then it was downhil from then on. The 'bon voyage' bubbly & canapes that were supposed to be in our balcony cabin did not arrive until ... Read More
The check-in went well (we later heard that P & O Staf were hired in for this) and then it was downhil from then on. The 'bon voyage' bubbly & canapes that were supposed to be in our balcony cabin did not arrive until after dinner - we ended up throwing them away as we did not want them after dinner or for breakfast! The cabin was disappointing as it was about the size of a standard cabin with just the balcony as extra. This was the first time that we had a balcony stateroom and I am sure that they are a bit more special on other lines.Small touches like toiletry gift sets and even a good night chocolate on the pillow were all missing, in fact this ship was more like a ferry; picking up and dropping off at each port of call. The time allowed ashore was minimal with only 3-4 hours before sailing. The food quality was poor and bland. I was actually sick after a dinner of lamb cutlets that were more fat than meat. Drink prices were extortionate with an extra 15% service charge added on top even if it was a soft drink. Excursion prices were also high considering how little time you were actually away from the ship. This ship also adds a whopping 7euros per person per night in gratuities which would add approx £150 to the cruise which was not worth it. The 'animation team' were very juvenile and the evening shows were only half an hour long - even the preceding bingo was slightly longer! We were told to vacate our cabins at 7 am on the last morning even though the ship did not dock in Venice until 9 am. After breakfast it was difficult to find a toilet that you could use before disembarking and when we found one it had no toilet paper or paper hand towels - not very hygienic at all! The flight time back to London was 23.10 which meant having to take yet another expensive excursion and sitting for hours in the airport. Bearing in mind that I booked this cruise some 18 months prior to departure, I would have thought that I would have got a better flight time than someone who I met that had only booked four months beforehand. The ship itself was beautiful with its Art Deco decor, but that doesn't make up for the disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Travelled by car to Southampton and found CPS car parking efficient and easy.Long queues for embarkation but we were on the ship within an hour and half of our allocated time. Whilst waiting in line for security we were accosted by ... Read More
Travelled by car to Southampton and found CPS car parking efficient and easy.Long queues for embarkation but we were on the ship within an hour and half of our allocated time. Whilst waiting in line for security we were accosted by photographers wanting to take photos of us on embarkation; this was to be a theme on Ventura - photographers were everywhere - on disembarkation at every port, in every bar/club, even each meal time they would pounce on you. This was annoying and oppressive, particularly since the photos were selling at £5.95 for a small one. Nobody we met on the cruise actually purchased any. Fair enough having photographers available but allow us to make the decision as to whether or not we wish to use their services. The cabin was well presented and spacious and we were quite happy with it, until one night the balcony door (a heavy glass door) actually came off its runners in my hand as I was trying to open it. My partner was asleep and the sea was choppy, so he couldn't hear me calling him for about 10 minutes and I had to stand there holding this huge door to prevent it from dropping onto the floor or blowing overboard and taking me with it. This could have caused a serious accident. We called reception and they sent the housekeeper to our room, who managed to put the door back in with our help, but it wouldn't close; we had the rest of the night with a howling gale blowing through the cabin - mainatanence men don't work out of hours!! The cabin had a fridge and tea making facilities which were replenished frequently, and the room service was good value with a wide range to choose from (when you could actually get them to answer the phone). The first port of call was Barcelona and we were sitting on the balcony waiting for our excursion time. Enjoying a leisurely breakfast, we were suddenly drenched with a high powered hose pipe from the bridge; the crew were cleaning the floors and underside of the floors directly above our balcony. To say we were soaked is an understatement; our breakfast was floating, guide books were ruined and the camera had a lucky escape. We complained about this and were told that the crew only cleaned on port days when most passengers were off the boat. However a good many of us were still on the boat and we could be seen from above where the cleaning was going on, had anyone bothered to check. We got a gruding apology and were made to feel as though we were causing trouble. The manager said that we had to produce any ruined items so that they could consider what they "may be able to do about them". After making a fuss (mainly becuause of the need to forcibly extract an apology)we did get a bottle of duty free wine. We unfortunately had further cause to complain when trying to access the internet. P&O charge 50p a minute, or you can buy an hour for £35.00. This is daylight robbery and is certainly one factor that will prevent us going with P&O again. We run a business and left 7 children at home, so making contact with home is crucial to us. But the annoyancy didn't end there! We went to sign up for an account only to find that we had to pay £2.50 to even register. Reluctantly we had to do this, however, half way through a one line email the system crashed and I had to start again. one email cost me over £7.00 and on arriving home, I discover that my email did not even get sent. They do advertise that the connection will be slow, but slow doesn't even begin to describe it. Absolute rip off. We complained about the system crashing and as a goodwill gesture, they knocked £2.00 off the total cost. Outrageous. The TV in the cabin was poor, only channels really were news and P&O spin channels. There were some films available at a cost of £5.95 each. We luckily had our laptop with us and a selection of films - top tip for anyone about to sail as days at sea can be long. The cinema had a daily showing whne at sea, but the films were not new films and we had seen them all before. P&O could at least have put on some current films and more than one showing (usually 1pm. The entertainment overall was a washout; we were really disappointed and after a few days we didnt' even bother to go. It was second rate and I would say not even Butlins standards. The activities similarly were not worth bothering with, nor the talks, unless you were interested in cars, flying or back pain. There was no atmosphere at night - only one party type evening on the top deck on the saturday night, which seemed to be mostly crew letting their hair down. Nothing at all on the last night and the bars were sedate and disappointing. We had been looking forward to a disco onboard but nothing we encountered could be described as a disco really. Meals were overall quite good; but we were restriced to the same restaurant each night at 8.45, which didn't always suite us. We could have used the buffet if we didn't want a sit down meal, or paid to dine in one of the paying outlets, but we had been warned off doing this by other passengers as not good value for money. The wine onboard was expensive and although you could take your own, there was a £10.00 corkage fee. It did feel to us as though we were being accosted at every turn for more money; we would have preferred to have paid more up front than having to keep shelling out for extras. For example, bottled water for the excursions - £4.95 for two small bottles. This isn't a very honest way - lure the passangers on with the hype and spin and then rip them off in whichever way you can. The excursions were variable in quality; we went on a bike tour of Barcelona, which was excellent and we had a super guide. Really would recommend that - not strenuous at all but a great way to see the city. We then did the 'easy Nice' tour - what a joke!! 68 Euros for a lift into town basically!! The guide was a silly, giggly woman who told the coach her life story and even pointed out where she lived. She then told the group to follow her hat as she steamed ahead, only to take her hat off in the crowds so nobdoy could see her. The worst of it though, was when we came to some steps down into the old town - the guide had vanished off into the distance and we were left to help 2 wheelchair users down the steps - they were elderly and if we hadn't been lagging behind the group, they wouldn't even have had our help. You would have thought that the guide would take note of this and choose a route without steps that was suitable for all passengers - disgusting. We left the group and go the bus to Monte Carlo for 1 Euro - and back again almost right to the port. Avoid this tour!! Gibraltar excursions were all sodl out by the time we tried to book, but in the event there were a number of tour guides on the quayside selling tours for half the price that P&O were charging. These tours included twice as much as the P&O one, and was very good. Don't bother booking with P&O as again, a rip off.They were running seperate tours for each attraction, whereas the one we took covered all of them for 25 Euros. Overall, we did have a really good time with enforced rest and nothing really to have to think about. We will definately go on another cruise but not with P&O - it was a real let down. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We have just returned from cruise no x114 on the Oriana. I have been on 30+ cruises on various ships have never had a single criticism. • The ship itself is now very worn and tired; none of the Jacuzzis worked and were often closed. Many ... Read More
We have just returned from cruise no x114 on the Oriana. I have been on 30+ cruises on various ships have never had a single criticism. • The ship itself is now very worn and tired; none of the Jacuzzis worked and were often closed. Many of the machines in the gym were out or order. And most of the tumble driers in the laundrettes were permanently out of order. • We were without water in our cabin for half a day and the toilet in our cabin worked erratically. • The air-conditioning in my son's cabin was ineffectual and when he complained an engineer failed to rectify the problem and left the panel off the ceiling for the rest of the cruise. • The food in the restaurant was not up to the usual P&O standard. We returned three meals, overcooked fish, very fatty lamb and tough beef. We have never done this before. The desserts looked pretty, but all tasted the same. The children's tea resembled school dinners with dried meat and damp crisps. • A big concern was the engine noise. We ate second seating in the Oriental restaurant on a table for 6, and during the meal; to be heard the conversation was at shout level. • The shore stops on the whole were logistical disasters. Cadiz was a half day , no time for any real sight seeing and on our return to ship with only one x-ray machine resulted in large queues of passengers. • The stop at Corfu was changed to Cephalonia and this was the best stop. We were on the quayside and the only ship in dock. • The stop in Dubrovnik we docked quay side and we were told that the ship would on be there for a few hours and then to be moved out to sea. This meant nobody could get off or on board for two hours. We went ashore, and on our return to the dock we stood for 45 minutes in the heat and waited for one of two tenders to take us back to the ship. My young grandson was very sick on his return. Again only one gangway was in use. • The docking in Venice placed the ship furthest away from the centre Venice that we have ever had to do (having done this trip 5 times). There was a complicated system involving free buses for wheelchair users, monorails, vaparettos or launches costing 15 Euros each. We have had the use of the ships tenders in the past. • At the stop in Naples again we were far away from the main dock. And returning there were log queues to return on board. The staff were pleasant, despite being obviously very busy, and the captain very personable. However is seems to us that P&O had lost their prestige and are far down the pecking order to other cruise lines. As gold tier members we have good experience of P&O at its best but now it is far for its best. There were only six stops in a 16 night cruise, the organisation should have been so much better. I presume that the logistics of such cruises must be organised years ahead. And on the experience of this cruise there are serious misgivings for the future. We will certainly have to seriously consider any future cruises with P&O. The ship is due for a refit and there will no longer be any facilities for children. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I took my partner on the Grand Princess having sailed with Princess before. We couldn't wait to get off and get back home. I have never been on a cruise ship with so many old and disabled people in my life. The entertainment seemed ... Read More
I took my partner on the Grand Princess having sailed with Princess before. We couldn't wait to get off and get back home. I have never been on a cruise ship with so many old and disabled people in my life. The entertainment seemed to be based around the 65-85 age group. As usual the staff are great. No problems there and special mention to Vasili and Alex in the Casino which is where we spent most of our time and money as we were so bored with the rest of the ship. My partner doesnt even gamble normally!!! If you are expecting to have nice relaxing hot tubs..forget it. For some public health reason, they are not allowed to put the bubbles on in the hot tubs, so basically the hot tubs were warm pools. I asked two staff members what the problem was with the tubs but got no answers. The nightclub was empty most nights. I have DJ'd myself and was quite surprised to see two DJ's sitting playing music from a laptop! Great style! The cruise entertainment manager must have a preconceived idea of what British people like as entertainment. We even heard a quartet playing "roll out the barrels". On leaving Gibralta, they had a Great British Sail Away....people queued for plastic flags and waved them for about half an hour to pre recorded british anthems!! What Fun! We saw one show from start to finish, walked out of one and didnt bother with anymore. My partner decided to have a 55 minute foot treatment at the spa. The treatment lasted 36 minute and cost $65. So dont waste your money on treatments.The shore excursions are also very expensive. Find a way of getting yourself around. The cheaper wine tasting was $9.50 each for six thimbles of wine. Dont bother. when we stopped at one of the stops we had to get tender tickets to get of the ship. we waited 45mins to get off the ship which was a waste of time as no-one even checked the tender tickets.So if you are going on a cruise just walk straight through the dining room and go to the tender. This also happened on disembarkation. The food was ok but i would recommend using the dining rooms. The food is hotter. I think if you are expecting anything luxurious and relaxing then dont go on this cruise. It was my partner first cruise and last which is a real shame as I have been on Royal Caribbean and loved the ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We have been on three cruises on the QE2 previously which we absolutely loved and had to find a different ship for obvious reasons. We chose the Grand Princess based on the itinerary and the reviews I had read and also our limitations on ... Read More
We have been on three cruises on the QE2 previously which we absolutely loved and had to find a different ship for obvious reasons. We chose the Grand Princess based on the itinerary and the reviews I had read and also our limitations on when we could travel. The booking was quite smooth and we were upgraded which was a good sign. We counted down the days with eager excitement at the prospect of being back on the ocean. We travelled down to Southampton the night before and stayed in a hotel nearby. A good start to our cruise. Embarkation We knew the routine for embarkation from previous cruises and on the whole this was much smoother and quicker. Whilst going through security I was stopped as something was bleeping which was fine. I was searched, again no problem, I'm glad they do this. As I was waiting the lady made derogatory comments to a colleague about a piece of my luggage. I was three feet away from her. It was very rude and upsetting. I ignored her and went on my way. When we entered the ship I was impressed. Everywhere looked new and shiny and the staff seemed pleasant. We were taken to our stateroom where we met our steward. He was polite but obviously very busy. Stateroom P321 Our stateroom (p321) was clean, and a good size for an ocean view. The storage space was adequate but no door on the wardrobe which was not as we would have liked it. We were happy with our cabin. Our room steward however was very poor. I rang him several times in the evening and he did not ring back so I gave up. We ordered the fruit basket and got a wrinkled pear, a black banana and an old apple in a metal mixing bowl with a doily. We didn't bother again. Our bedding was changed twice in two weeks. Is this normal? When we had used our towels and needed clean ones we put them on the floor of the shower. He picked them up, folded them and put them back. The food / dining We opted for anytime dining and on the first night we were put on a table with 6 other people which was not what we had asked for but we were tired and didn't mind too much. We changed this the next day. One of the selling points for a cruise for me is the food. I love eating out and it should be a good experience. On the Grand Princess it was not. The food was awful. The menus sound grand and the choice is extensive but the quality, taste and presentation were hideously below par. We started in the Michelangelo restaurant and the food was cold, congealed and tasteless - apart from the deserts which were good. The service was good but not as good as Cunard and was a little sloppy at times. Our waiter told us the food was 'rubbish'. We persisted for three nights and then gave up. Next we tried the Horizon Court, well aware that it was self service etc but hoped the food would be fresher and hotter. It wasn't. It was even colder. I think eating off a plastic plate may have had something to do with it. We then tried the Da Vinci which was slightly better than the other two. Maybe a long chat with the Maitre'D had something to do with that as he said he wanted us to enjoy the food. We had wine with our evening meal and on two occasions the wine was corked. We told the waiter this and they didn't know what it meant! Let alone what to do about it. One waiter couldn't open a bottle of wine. We enjoyed Alfredo's as the food was hot and fresh but there is only so much pizza you can eat, especially for my other half who doesn't like pizza. The service here was the best we had on the ship. The barbeque and pizzas at lunchtime were hot and fresh but you can't eat them everyday. Breakfast in the Horizon had a good choice but the aircon was up so high that by the time you sat down it was literally cold. Eventually we decided to give the Crown Grill a try on a formal night. We were seated next to a very large rowdy party and a man wearing a football shirt and trainers - dress code?? We asked to move and were given a lovely snug table which was nice. After a very patronising talk about what a pork chop looks like we ordered medium rare fillet steak. When the food came it was hot!! Fantastic, but sadly one wasn't medium rare, it was well done. It was taken back, a new one was cut in half lengthways to cook quickly and returned so that we could eat together, although mine had gone cold by then. The chef himself came and apologised which was a nice touch and above the service we had received elsewhere. The steak was lovely. After a week of this we arrived in one port, saw a McDonalds and ran. Hot food. One evening the lavatories near the Horizon Court were closed and an announcement in the newsletter told people to use the bathrooms in their cabins rather than the public ones. Staff suddenly started wearing plastic gloves, which they should have been wearing anyway. One of the people we had met on the cruise was confined to his cabin with 'issues'. He was ill for three days. He was not the only one. His cabin was hosed down by men wearing protective clothing and masks. He was questioned about where he had been eating. Says it all. Maybe more antibacterial hand wash around the ship and in the restaurants would have been a good idea. The Ship The ship itself was good. A variety of areas for different people and different activities. The main pool was very noisy and crowded but this was the school holidays. The 'youth security' felt like an omen. Sunbeds were hard to find. I waited next to one with a towel on it for an hour before the deck steward would move it. The entertainment was not my thing. Bingo and karaoke. We enjoy a quiet dinner and cocktails instead which is why we were gutted by the poor food. The disco was non existent despite a refurbishment. I saw the dj chatting instead of playing music. Formal nights were a let down. Not many people made an effort. Don't be fooled by the brochure with pictures of passenegers wearing chinos whistfully looking out to see with a cool glass of champagne in their hand. Its more like a can of fosters at 11am and a Chelsea Football shirt. Shore excursions These are always over priced whichever ship you go on so we don't do many and usually do our own thing. We did do one to Sorrento and Pompeii and it was fabulous, much better than one we did with Cunard. Best day of the cruise. At some ports they charged to get a shuttle to the port entrance - approx 9 dollars. There were however port buses that were less than half the price. Overall We will not be going on a Princess Cruise again. We were hungry, unwell and unimpressed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Myself and my husband are brand new to cruising and thought we would try a mini cruise to 'test the water'. Fred Olsen was recommended by (an older) relative, as it is a smaller ship and not overun by kids.Perhaps our ... Read More
Myself and my husband are brand new to cruising and thought we would try a mini cruise to 'test the water'. Fred Olsen was recommended by (an older) relative, as it is a smaller ship and not overun by kids.Perhaps our expectations of a cruise were too high, but speaking with other new cruisers who were doing the same as us on this 'taster weekend', I don't think so. This was Fred Olsen's opportunity to capture a new market and they failed miserably.Firstly admin: I had to call Fred Olsen twice to tell them that we hadn't received our tickets and in the end were issued with an e-ticket. They managed to send the bill to the right address so why not the tickets?The ship was delayed getting into port so embarkation was delayed by 3 hours. Fortunately we were emailed by FO to alert us to this so didn't leave home until later in the day, but many passengers didn't or couldn't. Needless to say check in was horrendous - lengthy queues and disorganisation ruled the day. This set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Queues and lengthy waits for everything including breakfast seating and drinks just made what should have been a relaxing break into alot of frustrating hard work.We booked a superior outside cabin which was reminiscent of a ferry cabin, and though it was clean, was very shabby and in much need of decoration and a new bathroom.We were booked into the Spey restaurant for dinner and even though on second sitting, we felt rushed all the way through. Waiters were surly and it was very difficult to attract their attention particularly at breakfast time when it was hard to get coffee and toast served in time to go with the rest of the meal.On the third morning we went into the Ballindalloch restaurant for breakfast and have to say that service was marginally better in there.Food could hardly be called 'fine dining'. It was adequate 'function catering' if rather boring - alot of it was based on roast meat and veg, starters and desserts were OK if generally tasteless. It's a pity that 'hot' food arrived at the table tepid, and cold food really was very chilled. We ate once in the Palms cafe - afternoon tea on the day of embarkation - after that we avoided it like the plague. It was noisy, tables were dirty, glass seating dividers were smeared with grease and upholstered seating was badly stained... not nice.The Captains Welcome Cocktail party was a joke - more rugby scrum mentality and shockingly bad service. The party took place in the Neptune lounge. It took us 30 mins to get a drink and no canapes got as far as the area in which we and 40 others were sitting. To us, it just felt like a 'hard sell' for tours, future cruises and of course the obligatory photo with the captain.Outside sitting areas were generally tidy and there appeared to be enough loungers and chairs, but then it was a bit breezy so maybe not everyone wanted to be outside. It did became quite difficult to move around when everyone sprawled out on loungers and grouped them together. It was also worrying to see passengers sitting in jacuzzis holding drinks in glasses, despite their being notices displayed forbidding it. Staff didn't seem to care. We will probably try cruising in the future, but definitely not with Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My wife and I had never cruised before but were persuaded by relatives and friends. None of them had ever cruised with the Independence of the Seas nor with Royal Caribbean. Holidays that we have enjoyed recently included Sorrento (Amalfi, ... Read More
My wife and I had never cruised before but were persuaded by relatives and friends. None of them had ever cruised with the Independence of the Seas nor with Royal Caribbean. Holidays that we have enjoyed recently included Sorrento (Amalfi, Isle of Capri, Pompeii etc), Prague, Vienna plus several wonderful British holidays in the Scottish Islands and Highlands, Lake District, Wales, South West England plus Ireland (both north and south).We were looking forward to seafood, sea fish dishes and a bit of fancy dining. Instead, we got a works canteen (The Windjammer Cafe), a very nice dining room in the Romeo and Juliet dining room but with food that, at best, was adequate, and two cafe-type places. One of these offered a slice of pizza and the other offered rolls which were sometimes stale. Breakfast was quite good with semi-formal dining (buffet style) in the dining room although the only eggs on offer were scrambled. The toast was like cardboard. There was a la carte available in the Macbeth dining room which was good. The works canteen (Windjammer) had a good range. Breakfast was far and away the best dining option apart from the Portofino, which was an excellent Italian restaurant but was an extra $20 per person per meal.I didn't see a single bit of seafood available at lunchtime in the Windjammer but I did see some fish dishes labelled 'fish curry'. When did you last see a dish labelled 'meat curry'? I don't eat meat but do eat fish, chicken, seafood, vegetarian dishes, salads, eggs and cheese. Not once did I see boiled eggs at lunch time (they make a nice addition to a salad). When fish was available the kitchen staff didn't seem to know what it was e.g. fish goujons. There was something labelled 'cold cuts' which I believe was fish.There were 8 ice shows. The theatre holds 600 people. There were 3000 passengars onboard thus at least one ticket per passenger - wrong. When the tickets go on sale on the first day at sea, all the tickets for all the shows are first-come first-served. So some people got several tickets for several shows. The people at the back of the queue got none. Every cabin should have 2 tickets on the bed on arrival. If you don't want them, hand them in to the customer service desk. As it was, apparently some of the shows had vacant seats because people who had seen a previous show couldn't be bothered to attend.We thought there would be history lectures onboard and also a celebrity speaker. Other people told us that they had been on cruises where Henry Cooper gave a talk, or Chris Bonnington, or well known history professors. Instead, the only talks were on Crime and Offenders!!!The drinks are ludicrously expensive and you can't take a local bottle of wine onboard for a drink on your balcony. We bought the cheapest onboard wine package at $270 for 10 bottles. A bottle of London Pride beer and a small lager was $13.I could go on but won't. The best moments were meeting the people at our dining table in the evening. All were experienced cruisers - all were disappointed. The ship previously had the Norvirus but we weren't told until we had boarded. I've come home with sickness and diarrhoea and had it since Saturday (today it's Wednesday). The best description I can give is Butlins-on-sea but I always enjoyed Butlins - and went back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Just where do I start. All the hype about this wonderful ship and the pure privilege to sail on her was lost when we found our own way to our cabin. The greeting when we arrived at the port gate, the greeting from the car parkers & the ... Read More
Just where do I start. All the hype about this wonderful ship and the pure privilege to sail on her was lost when we found our own way to our cabin. The greeting when we arrived at the port gate, the greeting from the car parkers & the luggage porters was a great start but that did not continue. On arrival in our cabin it was good to see our luggage but on closer inspection 2 pieces was missing. Advised the Pursers Office who advised it was too early to notify about missing luggage. Well I suppose so as it was only 3pm! We went for a wander to see whats what on board & get a cuppa. Back to the cabin, still missing the luggage so we stopped for a drink from the half bottle of bubbly supplied in the cabin. On disembarkation it was noticed cruise 3 had full size bottles on Deck 1! Went on Deck 3 for Him InDoors to have a smoke & a bar steward Melvin was offering half bottles of champagne ready for the sailaway. $23, good mark up! All the supplies were loaded & sailaway was under way... We slunk out of Southampton like a car ferry!! No Razzamatazz, No band on the dock, No fairy lights or bunting. Just a stevedore shouting " you lucky people " & a few friend on a new Bride & Groom on board. THIS WAS HER 2nd MAIDEN SAILING ! The sailaway band was playing on the Lido Deck 9 & that was the sailaway party. Back to the cabin & found that 1 piece of luggage had been found & delivered. Off for lifeboat practice. 6pm early sitting so off for dinner & meet our our dinner cruisers. Everything was great so after dinner off to the theatre for the " Welcome Aboard Show ". Show was interesting but did not match the theatre & then for another wander & so to bed. The missing last piece of luggage finally arrived but guess what.. yes the suit bag was ripped to smitherens. Formal Tuesday at sea. Starting with Alastair's " Morning Show " & off to various talks / lectures. The speaker on Barcelona was unable to hold the interest as most of the audience went to sleep. He didn't know the slides or the order claiming they were not his slides so didn't know where they were from. He was also very critical of Wayne Rooney & his new salary settlement! " Secrets to a Flatter Stomach " was very interesting but as it was repeated 4 / 5 during the cruise with different speakers it was a waste of time. Complimentary Gaming Lessons & Texas Hold'em Lessons were interesting but if the experienced gamers we not sitting in to help Jenny, who had not prepared then we would have learnt less. DJ's for dinner & posh frocks then off to the theatre & then the ball. Another wander & off to bed. Advised the Pursers Office about the suit bag & they advised they will get back to me. Formal Wednesday at sea with lots to do Alastair's show to start then Beginners Bridge, Livorno for Florence, another bad talk with Alan Crisp, Mr Cruise Liner Bill Miller talk on Cruise liners, Art Talk - Rolf Harris, lunch then Classical Concert, very good then off for the Martini mixing. Still didn't get to meet " Dorothy " DJ's & Posh frocks & off to dinner. Theatre, the London Ball wander & bed. Such a busy cruise. Semi Formal Thursday at sea. Morning Show with Alastair they rush rush rush around the boat to get to the 6 earmarked interesting talks today. Giancarlo Impiglia was excellent with the talk on Michelangelo, not many fell asleep ! Dixiland at the Golden Lion was superb & so was Twelfth Night. Gave the wine tasting, at $41 each a miss. Dinner, theatre to hear Nicola Loud, very good. A wander & then the Latin dance in the Queens & off to bed. Semi Formal Friday in Port. Off to Monserrat by Rail to see the Black Madonna. Back on board after a jaunt into Barcelona to stock up on " Duty Paids " Up to the Lido for refreshments & the sailaway. Dinner, theatre to see Phillip Hitchcock the magician. Again very good. Off to the Elizabethan Ball, a wander, then bed. Elegant Casual Saturday in Port. Off to do the F1 circuit & see the Princes car collection. Harbour is full of very expensive yachts with the Queen Elizabeth towering over them all. Captain Wells was able to moor up in the harbour rather than tendering us to the dock. A few expensive cars about with a very psychedelic Porsche Cayenne. It was a lovely morning walking around but the wind was gradually gaining strength & the harbour waves were beginning to batter the quays. We had docked in Bow first, wonder why, most people I know usually park up in reverse? The winds get even stronger so we are delayed from sailing for several hours. We all got on with our cruise so it was dinner & off to the theatre for more of Nicola with Robert Meadmore accompanying. A wander around the decks then off to bed. The Beatles tribute as too late. Whilst waiting to be called for our tour in the "Royal Court Theatre" we were " entertained " with the latest news about the failed bombing in the cargo holds. Why not something about Monaco?? We did not need to be wound up about something we have no control over. Very insensitive Cunard. Elegant Casual Sunday in Port. We must have been released from Monaco as we have now arrive in Livorno with the rain & wind. Some gathered in the theatre for the tours. The stewardess failed to notice that when the ship board announcements were being broadcast no one could hear her announcements. Dried out & trying to warm up after the days soaking we went up to the Lido for a snack. Meals generally boring & most were unlabelled. Standard cold meat salads & lumpy soup & soggy cold chips. Found the Ovaltine Hot water & a dash of cream lovely. Tea in the Lido was always good if you ran off the hot water first to get the freshly boiled water. Generally to tired to stay up but had a quick wander. Found out who "Dorothy" & friends are. Elegant Casual Monday in Port. Shame it is what we know as a "Bank Holiday" but we were off to Vesuvius & Herculaneum & the weather was lovely. No real time to wander around the port. Dinner, more a snack in the Lido then off to the theatre for "Benny Goodman" by Kenny Martin. Another excellent show. The tribute Rolling Stones was again on late. No chocolate sauce for the profiteroles... needed for breakfast was the reason..?? Saw the Captain on deck & asked why no band to play us out in Southampton & said about the stevedore. His reply was " well someone saw you off then " He was not interested unlike Lord & Lady Howard who were very pleased to stop & chat when spotted in the Lido. Elegant Casual Tuesday in Port. Up early to meet our booked Limo at the port for a private tour of Rome. Breakfast in the "Stateroom" Very good but forgot to order the butter but it was delivered very quickly when I foned Room Service. Out all day & back at about 6pm having had a very enjoyable day & totally tired out. The bottle of wine given to us by our guide Roberto Brunetti (find him via Facebook , well worth every euro) was a very welcome refresher. Another snack in the Lido with an Ovaltine & back to our cabin to recover. Formal Wednesday at Sea. Lots to do & see from fencing to watercolour art with the high light being Lord Howard's talk in the Royal Court Theatre on Churchill. It was very popular so seats were scarce unless you got there early. DJ's & Posh frocks for dinner & then to the theatre for Lorraine Brown & Kenny Martyn. The whole show complete with the Royal Court Theatre Orchestra was wonderful but was only on once during the cruise, apart from the 2nd sitting repeat. Again no free seats unless you got there early. The Venetian Ball was a but flat but hey maybe we have had a few too many good times & expected too much. Elegant Casual Thursday in Port. Lord & Lady Howard disembarked & we went for a wander to get some more " duty paid " Lovely weather so sitting around the dock area watching the world go by was great. Back on board for dinner & off to the theatre to see John Martin for an hour of comedy. John advised the orchestra they were not required & they didn't need a 2nd telling. The show was good with the usual picking on the front row & new jokes. Semi Formal Friday in Port. Our tour was the Dolphin Watch in the morning & then back to the boat for an early departure back to "Blighty". No time for a wander. All aboard for 2pm sailaway. Lots to see & do until dinner & then the theatre to watch the Flautist Suzanne Godfrey who was very good. We actually had a "sailaway" Pipe Band to play us away this time. Formal Saturday at sea. Programme today is very busy with the cooking demo in the Royal Court Theatre for the "Aztec" restaurant another talk by Bill Miller, the chart auction & the guest talent show & then off to the Vodka tasting. Dress for our last formal dinner in DJ's & Posh frocks but we booked the Aztec for a first class dinner then off to the Starlight Ball. Casual Sunday at Sea. Our last full day so running around to get best offers for next cruise on board Cunard. Another great talk from Bill Miller & bits & pieces to see & do then back to do the packing ready to leave outside the cabin for disembarking collection. Off to dinner & say farewell to our dinning cruisers & then to the theatre for the "Farewell Variety Show" a final wander around the entertainment haunts & off to bed for an early breakfast start to the day. Disembarkation was smooth but delayed. Glad it was not raining as had to join a long slow queue to find our car in the car park. Home at 12.30 & a bath !! Whilst the cruise was enjoyable it was not the " special " cruise it was hyped up to be via all the Cunard bloggs & Facebook. Reading the bloggs it came to feel we would be spending 2 weeks at "The Dorchester or Ritz" but it was not so. The ship is very beautiful in its grandiose style & the carpets were deep & soft but the cruise did not live up to the bloggs. Everything was in US Dollars with no acknowledgement to sterling. Every purchase has an "add on" of 5 or 15%. The service in the Britannia Restaurant was good & the stewards were very helpful as expected although they did not understand, that when asked for crispy bacon I did not want jaw breaker crisp which they labelled "American". English bacon appeared steamed & soggy. The cabin steward kept the cabin tidy as required but cleaned around rather than under. Cabin service was very good if not delivered earlier than requested. The hot water was off the boil for the tea so tried coffee which I found too strong so I opted for Ovaltine. This worked a few morning but then fone calls at 6am to advise they did not have any Ovaltine would I like a full English breakfast instead? Ovaltine was plentiful in the Lido. The TV listing was not very helpful as programmes listed were not always shown but sometimes those shown were good. Was unable to scroll up to channel 38 as it didn't exist but well into the cruise, I found that if 38 was input it came up. A bit of a waste of time as this channel was supposed to repeat, on a loop the talks from the Theatre which froze or dropped out regularly. The pursers desk was not impressed or helpful when advised it was not working correctly. Alastair's morning chats were interesting if you caught them live but suffered the same drop out problems. On the last morning show Alastair introduced his main cameraman but nobody adjusted the camera height so we only were introduced to the man's chest! Very disappointed that there was no Pre Release film shown onboard as with other cruise lines. Was hoping it would be the new Harry Potter film. Fotos taken on board were for sale at $24.95 but the foto of the Queen taking up most of Monaco harbour was only $12.50 why? Disappointed by the timings at Monserrat meant we were unable to see the Basilica or the Black Madonna. No-one must be checking the "Daily Programme" as the spelling & grammar was awful throughout the cruise & do not blame the American language. The meal in the Aztec was excellent with the service as expected on booking this cruise. The advertised pricing was misleading as it looked that there was a $10 service charge before the cost of the meal but that was not so. The whole meal cost $10 including $2.50 service charge per person. The wine bill was something else. $25 plus 15% for 2 glasses of red wine, but they did happily change my wine when I advised it was too dry for my taste. It was a lovely evenings service. We booked deck 4 & our cabin was listed as "obstructed view" Not really Try totally blocked by a lifeboat. Only glimpses of the sky was visible. I had to chase up about the damaged suit bag & was told they had tried to fone us but there was no reply. A very good excuse. We were out & about so why no note to advise progress? Another visit introduced me to a very rude receptionist who made sure her name was not easily read. The little dumpy one, other cruisers will recognise her as she crossed many cruisers with her rudeness The re-booking service was not very persuasive to get our next booking. She offered 5% off but on returning home I have a letter from Cunard offering 15% off. Right & Left hand syndrome? The IT & technical team really need to brush up their act with what they are filming & transmitting even the Bridge Cam is fixed without advice as to where the shop is. As already said the cruise as a cruise was good but not as was blogged to be so I do not expect to be booking again on Cunard if this is their standard. Fred Olsen's Balmoral was far superior. The stewards in the Queens Room did not pay attention to what was around any drinks left & just cleared them away, even full glasses. The hyped up "tea in the Queens Room" was a let down as none of the stewards understood that the English love their tea & it must be made correctly with FRESHLY boiled water. Such a shame as the scones & petite sandwiches were lovely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Having booked over a year agowe had plenty of time to anticipate the trip,we even went on th Victoria to tesr the water. Arrived at the Southhampton Hilton as prvious cruise cant fault it well organised clean tidy food good staff the ... Read More
Having booked over a year agowe had plenty of time to anticipate the trip,we even went on th Victoria to tesr the water. Arrived at the Southhampton Hilton as prvious cruise cant fault it well organised clean tidy food good staff the same as last year,apart from noone manning Cunard desk,must have cut the staff back. Good nights sleep,breakfast supposed to have been famous,was last year, this time no staff no food,perhaps they too where cutting staff,never mind on the coach and of to the ship. Boooking in procedure very efficient. Up the gangplank wheres the ship,never mind plenty of days to see ino farewell do must be cutting staff back. Find the cabin our friends are next door but one,we are 8025 our friends 8029,into the cabin,open the door to the balcony,same view as last year feel at home already,back in the room sharpish,smoking next door,smoke drifting over. Off to the leaving party,experienced cruisers lol,playing the game dodge the photographers,party my elbow been to better wakes. You bored yet,full of anticipation of we go to the Britannia restuarant,staff superb,food good. LIdo,tea making facilities poor after first day laid out wrong probably due to hot water system for tea making failed,Burcos arrived after 11 days. Britannia breakfast must be rated amongst the top one in the world,sorry I mean in the list for poor quality,its appalling,i repeat its the worst I have ever had anywhere Cant use the balcony smoke worse corridor wreaks, air conditioning pushing smoke through vents in door from next door. REad the brochure carefully,smoking allowed in the rooms,pity the people who had room 8027 this week,they arrived to clean the room with specialised vacuum cleaners even beforethe ship was vacated so they knew they had a problem. The lady mentioned the Dorothy club,what a gay time was had by all,like packs roaming the ship,best entertainment I had all week was watching some Americans trying to take some upskirt photos of a man wearing a kilt,true outside the toilets on the way to the Britannia restuarant. Entertainment.comedian brilliant band brilliant,saw the lady with the flute on the Victoria,was good but already seen the act,multiplaying muscian DIRE,singers leave a lot to be desired. If you drink,be prepared to wait for service,shall we discuss the measures,be warned all is not what it seems,never seen so many short measures in my life,why they bother to stock take at the end of the night amazes me.Drink at casino bar only chance of a fair measure. Casino,odds beyond me,only one history showing on roullette, table broken they said on the one table,could cunard please check the system they play,I admired the staff for the way they could get double zero. The lady in the previous report said she was home for 12.30,we were stuck in the garden room for hours waiting to disembark excuse was the weather,bullshit it happens every time priorities given to other passengers if you stay at the hilton you leave last. Im not by nature a complainer,this I find to be a fair critic of our time on this cruise,it is not White Star service,it does really fall short. No good sending me any more offers Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
I think if P&O was your first ever cruise you wouldn't know any better and might think it was marvellous, but we have cruised before with Royal Caribbean (3 times) and Princess Cruises (once). Being British, we thought we'd ... Read More
I think if P&O was your first ever cruise you wouldn't know any better and might think it was marvellous, but we have cruised before with Royal Caribbean (3 times) and Princess Cruises (once). Being British, we thought we'd try P&O for a change. What a mistake - our 2 week cruise was more expensive than RC but for our money we got sub-standard service, rooms and facilities. Our en-suite toilet inexplicably kept flooding (which the plumber seemed to find funny), there was an annoying squeaking at night from the roof, which despite reporting twice, I found I had to fix myself, and the balcony cabin was shabby and not as spacious as those we've had on previous cruises.The crew were surly, unfriendly and unprofessional, generally had a bad attitude, and were continually moaning about P&O. When I complained to P&O about various problems I found they were defensive and not interested in listening to valid customer points. Reading other reviews I find we were not the first passengers who have disembarked from a P&O cruise early. We got off the ship after 4 days because it was so awful, and had to make our own way home. Overall it was an ordeal, not a holiday. We have just booked again with RC, but never again P&O! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Cruised previously with Royal Carib. & Celebrity; chose Grand Princess for our June 19th Med. cruise as we'd heard good reports. It was a catalogue of problems and shockers starting with the inordinate amount of time at ... Read More
Cruised previously with Royal Carib. & Celebrity; chose Grand Princess for our June 19th Med. cruise as we'd heard good reports. It was a catalogue of problems and shockers starting with the inordinate amount of time at embarkation, to discovering that the mini suite wasn't cleaned properly with filthy glass doors to the rather old and rusty balcony to the layer of dust accumulated on some of the shelves within the suite. These issues were dealt with quite quickly however, and we settled down to discover that the Grand Princess represented more about 'faded elegance' compared to our previous experiences - hadn't realised the age of the ship before booking! 2 days into the cruise and the nightmare started with the toilet filling with raw sewage - the crew were extremely concerned and so were we due to the health risks associated with untreated sewage. The problem was fixed within a couple of hours and we insisted that the toilet and suite were sanitized - you cannot imagine the stench!! We considered leaving the ship as they were unable to change our suite due to the ship being full (late promotion ensured the ship was full with kids who went free with every adult booking), but were reassured that this wouldn't happen again. 3 days later and the toilet malfunctioned again and this time flooding the bathroom floor. We should have left the ship then but an Engineering Officer changed the whole toilet mechanism and we felt somewhat reassured - sailing back to Southampton the toilet filled with sewage again... It truly was a disgusting experience and we were so relieved to disembark without any illnesses. We've subsequently discovered that the ship had been infected with a Norovirus on the 2 previous cruises - it's easy to understand why with our experience!! Ship is due to be refitted next April and we would strongly recommend that Princess Line don't wait - the old girl is truly tired with essential equipment malfunctioning and breaking down. Finally, to complete the scary experience, there were 3 electrical black-outs to contend with; once at sea which left the ship drifting in the Med. with no locomotive power or steering. On these occasions ALL the toilet systems were unusable as the mechanism is driven by electrical suction pumps. We could add more but it's enough already.. In future we will check the age of the ships we choose to cruise on, or perhaps we were just unlucky with the Grand Princess? Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Let me say at the outset that I think we are just not cruise material and that this is not the fault of Grand Princess. We are not keen on bingo, line dancing, quizzes or gambling and maybe we should have done more homework on what was ... Read More
Let me say at the outset that I think we are just not cruise material and that this is not the fault of Grand Princess. We are not keen on bingo, line dancing, quizzes or gambling and maybe we should have done more homework on what was available before booking. However, it was the ports of call that attracted us (Malaga for Granada, Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Naples, Ajaccio and Gibralter. Embarkation was dreadful - we also had been sent a text asking us not to turn up till after 2 pm though we arrived about 1.30. There was total chaos and a long line of people who had no idea what was happening and how long they would be kept waiting. At no time did anyone tell us why there was a problem or what was happening about it. We were lucky and managed to get our car parked and on board within about 1 hr 15 minutes - others waited much longer. We were not told about the Norovirus on board and someone complained during the trip that, as they were on medication and immunosuppressed the company had been very lax in not telling them, and giving them the opportunity to cancel. Having said that I could not fault the company's attempts to deal with it - sanitisation, We found the ship rather tired and somewhat shabby and general facilities disappointing - 2 clothes shops, a small general store, the usual perfume and jewellry outlets. Food was good in dining rooms but much of a muchness in Horizon Court - it all tasted rather samey and my husband, a vegetarian, was not impressed with either Horizon Court or the dining rooms. We attempted to persuade Sabatini's to construct a vegetarian menu for him but met with total resistance. What I disliked most was the constant pressure to spend money. It was impossible to find a quiet space to just watch the world go by or read without waiters constantly asking you for an order and making you feel that you should not be occupying the space if you were not buying. It was cool and windy on deck so many people wanted to be indoors but we felt uncomfortable without a drink in our hands. Ports of call: Malaga/Granada a shambles because we arrived late, got rushed to the Alhambra, guides were short-tempered and at one point it looked like even though we had tickets they were not going to let us in. Guides looked harrassed and bored. Barcelona: good guide and enjoyable tour, Rome: dirty and full of graffiti which impinged on its beauty. We couldn't get into Naples as the sea was too rough and the pilot refused to come out! Ajaccio very unexpectedly pleasant and Gibralter so awful I wonder why cruises continue to go there - why not Vigo, Lisbon or somewhere better? As I say, we are definitely not cruise material but even so I had hoped for more interesting things to do than sunbathe and play bingo (the port lecturer was particularly boring!) and, by the way, why SO MANY TV channels just playing the same endless adverts for Princess Cruises and black and white films! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Having booked our Cruise some 12 months in advance we were excited at the prospect of sailing on such a prestigious vessel and couldn't wait to board. Check in was swift and smooth - first impression of the 'Grand Lobby'? - ... Read More
Having booked our Cruise some 12 months in advance we were excited at the prospect of sailing on such a prestigious vessel and couldn't wait to board. Check in was swift and smooth - first impression of the 'Grand Lobby'? - is this it? We were not however disappointed in our accommodation - basic balcony staterooms - very spacious, spotlessly clean, ample storage - excellent. Our cabin steward greeted us and we found it quite amusing that her name was Santa - we wondered whether her 'little helpers' might join us too? On exploring the ship we found another staircase - the Clock staircase which I have to say inspired us much more than the 'Grand staircase'! The lights on the stairs though were somewhat dazzling and off putting. The shops were limited - stock even more limited. Food throughout the cruise could not be faulted however the wait staff left a lot to be desired - it took nearly an hour for a wine waiter to enquire whether we would like a drink! In fact we found the wait staff in the majority of the lounges very scarce - not quite what we had expected for this cruise line - we definitely didn't get service with a smile either - we felt we perhaps should apologize for asking them to serve us! Entertainment? well, sadly lacking, very amateurish although the entertainment staff did their best but again - not what we had expected on Cunard. We were lucky on 3 or 4 nights to have visiting entertainers and they were excellent. Not enough sun loungers as usual - non smokers taking up the seats in the smoking area and then complaining if smokers stood nearby - even hiding the ashtrays to try to deter anyone from smoking near to them! The casino was much smaller than we had expected and really didn't feel like a casino - it felt more like a bar with a few machines and gaming tables in it. Casinos on other ships had a much more atmospheric feel to them - having said that we always came away winning! Waiters were few and far between on deck during the day - again we felt this poor service We felt there was overall a lack of atmosphere on the ship wherever we went. Too much emphasis was placed on outward appearance and formalities i.e. formal nights and not enough attention to basic detail like friendly, helpful, waiting staff. Reception staff also didn't provide service with a smile - one passenger brought some of their fruit to reception complaining it was filthy and should have been washed before serving to them - they didn't want to know The wait staff were very lax in ensuring the correct room card was returned to passengers - I even managed to sign for a round of drinks on someone elses card and it was only apparent when I tried to use the card to gain entry to my cabin! Reception staff - didn't want to know - couldn't see a problem and why was I complaining? My cigarettes were on sale in the shop but I couldn't have them until the night before we were leaving the ship - I was told I could purchase cigarettes from behind the bar - the problem was they didn't stock my cigarettes behind the bar! When I asked if they could get me some from the shop - No they couldn't. Overall we enjoyed the trip but came away very very disappointed - the 'special' holiday we thought we had paid for was very much lacking and we felt we could have had better service for half the money on another Cruise line. Our world cruise in 2011 was going to be with Cunard on Queen Elizabeth - a last minute change of mind meant we booked with P & O instead - I think we had a lucky escape. Cunard are operating on their name only and not on the 5star service we paid for. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009

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