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57 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Do not go on this ship, unless you want to pay a fortune for 'butlins on sea'. The ship was overcrowded with no room on the upper decks . small cabins even though we paid for an upgrade food was the same in each ... Read More
Do not go on this ship, unless you want to pay a fortune for 'butlins on sea'. The ship was overcrowded with no room on the upper decks . small cabins even though we paid for an upgrade food was the same in each restaurant .the entertainment we booked for was over booked and we couldn't get in . The cruise was a dream works cruise but not a character in sight,as for the kids club if you want to sit inside colouring ,go for it. .ports we stopped at we didn't stay the allocated time we always had to board early. If you used the supposed free room service you had to pay a delivery charge after 10.30. It was so bad we tried to get off twice but the crew wouldn't help and we couldn't get Internet connection so couldn't book anything AVOID THIS SHIP LIKE THE PLAGUE Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
When I got home from Southampton having been on a 7 day cruise holiday on Britannia, it felt like I didn't go on holiday at all. I couldn't be more disappointed with the new cruise ship. I come back regretting that I paid the ... Read More
When I got home from Southampton having been on a 7 day cruise holiday on Britannia, it felt like I didn't go on holiday at all. I couldn't be more disappointed with the new cruise ship. I come back regretting that I paid the gratuities too. Compared to other cruise ships I've been on, the quality of service was bad and totally unprofessional. I totally agree with the negative comments given by other travellers on this site. I've been on many cruise holidays and each time on a different cruise ship. P & O Britannia is by far the lowest scoring cruise ship in all categories, especially cabin, cabin, enrichment activities, entertainment, public rooms and service. The only thing I applaud Britannia for is the ethos of minimising waste and water footprint etc. Unlike other cruise ships, Britannia did not waste lots of food. Unfortunately though the food choice was very limited. The choice of fruit was appalling and the quality of the fruit was terrible, tasteless, no flavour at all. The worst thing for me was the fact that Britannia sell themselves to be a very up-market cruise ship focusing on nothing but top quality service and food. And they use celebrity chefs to help sell their ship and the service on board, I feel totally conned when I find I have to pay for other things which other cruise companies already include in the price of the cruise. Like one critic said 'haven't we paid enough for the cruise itself?' And then we move onto entertainment, well the manager on board should be sacked. The entertainment is very old fashioned. Some of the singers tried too hard, and instead of singing, they were too shouty and as a result it was not enjoyable at all to listen or watch. The dining staff tried very hard to be friendly, professional and helpful, however it is obvious P & O have not trained the restaurant staff to provide a high quality service. One evening we had lots of breadcrumbs on our table by the end of the main course and on other cruise ships the waiter would bring out a crumb cleaner and freshen up the table. But on Britannia this attention to detail was not there. The so called wine connoisseur poured wine in our glasses, with dripping water to follow, it hadn't occurred to him that he could wipe the side of the bottle so that water was not dripping onto our food and onto us! I'm using my valuable time to write this review, because I feel extremely let down by P & O and I feel the need to inform others who are considering booking a cruise with them. I will never be cruising with the company again and I most certainly will not be recommending them to my friends and family. If you are retired, you like old fashioned British entertainment and just want to drink alcohol and sit in the many different bars on Britannia then this is the cruise ship for you. If you are looking for a family cruise holiday with children, pay a bit more and go on Royal Caribbean or NCL you will not be disappointed on these ships. P & O have really missed the chance to come up with a modern, superior cruise ship. They have a lot to learn from it's competitors in order to compete in this booming industry!! I rest my case! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Our first time on RCCL and safe to say our last. What a nightmare 2 weeks we had. embarkation is extremely fast and efficient--we used the parking at the terminal and were on the ship within 10 minutes--very impressive indeed--sadly ... Read More
Our first time on RCCL and safe to say our last. What a nightmare 2 weeks we had. embarkation is extremely fast and efficient--we used the parking at the terminal and were on the ship within 10 minutes--very impressive indeed--sadly this was the last positive. Our family now agree that we should have heeded the warnings and the poor reviews on this site and sailed with another cruise line. I won,t go into specifics because it is simply just to long, but will summarise; 1, Dining--dreadful to the point of not wanting to eat in the restaurants. The service was non existent and the quality of the food simply disgraceful. Exception was Chops Grille where you have to pay a $39 surcharge for a steak and chips. 2, Service--all over the ship was generally very poor. There seems to be a lack of motivation and happiness within the crew. You can see why this would be when they have to put up with the behaviour of numerous guests--we'll get to them later!! 3, Sun Decks--guests out a 5.30 am putting towels on sun beds as there simply is not nearly enough for the guests. People literally fighting over sun beds. Sun decks also constantly littered with empty beer bottles. Yet to see anybody clearing them up. 4, Clientele--Everybody we spoke to on the ship agreed that they would never sail on it again. The major reason being that the ship was filled with drunk people obviously on an all inclusive drinks package. Drinking for them normally started at 9,30 am with breakfast in WindJammer and carried on throughout the day normally ending with people going for dinner in their swimming costumes. We like a drink like the next person but this took it to a new level.There was no formal nights on this ship though some people did make the effort. 5, WIFI--We paid $355 for the 2 device package on the promise of constant excellent wifi. The reality was a very poor connection constantly dropping out. A complete rip off in our humble opinion. 6, The Ship--Some areas are truly beautiful--270 and its surrounding areas but on the whole it really is quite tacky. The royal promenade is filled with shops and selling booths, a pizza place and a pub. The Bionic Bar is constantly empty except the odd guest videoing a drink being made. There is a bar/nightclub area that has pool tables etc that would be best suited in a Butlins holiday camp. The Comp restaurants are literally just a normal dining room that has been sectioned off to create 4 different restaurants. Wind Jammer cafe is nicely situated and very nice to look at, but is a complete nightmare when the drunken guests decide on mass to have a feeding frenzy. All in all a complete and utter shambles. Please take note of our comments as they are completely true and if you are a discerning cruiser who likes luxury and service this ship is not for you. If on the other hand you like to be on a mass party boat with no service, etiquette or rules you should sign up for your all inclusive wristband now!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Take no pleasure in writing this but we are only on day 3 of our cruise and so far it is beyond a joke. Let's start with the Dynamic Dining. Farcical to say the least. So disorganised to the point of guests seating themselves in ... Read More
Take no pleasure in writing this but we are only on day 3 of our cruise and so far it is beyond a joke. Let's start with the Dynamic Dining. Farcical to say the least. So disorganised to the point of guests seating themselves in the restaurants. Very rude restaurant hosts who are still trying to learn how to use their IPads to care about their guests. Long lines of people waiting outside the restaurants. American Icon Grill Sat 4th of July---extremely poor. Table settings dreadful, table cloths and linen not ironed, service appalling to the point of negligent and the food just disgusting. Ordered Turkey for thanksgiving and it looked like it had been half eaten before it was served. Silk Sunday 5th of July---slightly better on the service front--food dreadful again. Soggy veg samosas then a beef stirfry that was just a plate of fatty meat and black beans--by chance an Executive Chef passed our table and I asked him to try the dish but he refused and walked off. Windjammer is just a disorganised feeding frenzy but we all agreed that the food was far better than the restaurants. Signed up for 2 device internet for £350. Meant to be extremely fast but the reality is that it comes and goes on a regular basis. The sun decks are just a shambles with screaming kids running amok, no deck staff to be seen, no bar servers in sight with dirty towels everywhere. There also seems to be no designated smoking zone so the waft of cigarette smoke there is just no level of guest service to be seen, the food is by far the worst we have experienced at sea. The dining staff seem to be so demotivated that they simply don't care. This is our first experience of Royal Carribbean and will definitely be our last. Cunard, Disney, Celebrity and even PO are far better in our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We were so excited to be joining Anthem the new RCI ship on 4th July My review is only my personal view and I love cruising - I have been on independence 3 times and loved it - p and o many more times but really wanted to try a super ... Read More
We were so excited to be joining Anthem the new RCI ship on 4th July My review is only my personal view and I love cruising - I have been on independence 3 times and loved it - p and o many more times but really wanted to try a super large ship - Embarkation amazing on in 10 minutes as we registered everything online 1st impressions wow - amazing - high tech - high spec lots of glitz and beautiful - that was until the ship was full of passengers - what a dreadful shame - the passengers not all but many ruined this ship and cruise ! Why is it that because you have a drinks package you have to use it to the max - drunk passengers - shocking behaviour - kids blocking stair wells - food on the floors / lifts / stairs - aggressive behaviour over sunbeds - passengers taken off at ports for allegedly violent misconduct - too many passengers for ONE outside pool - 4800 pax - 1000 under 18 - one pool in the sun and at 30 degrees daily - so totally inadequate - fights over sunbeds - towels going down at 4am - just total chaos The 4 MDR in my option are poor quality - staff running round like headless chickens - food Luke warm - poor presentation and quality - forcing you to pay for alternative dining - plus the main 4 MDR can't cope with demand they are too small ! Chops - ok - wonderland - great and quirky but beware very very rich food - windjammer if you get there at 6-30am bliss - after that chaos - we were lucky to have access to coastal kitchen - clean - fab food excellent service!!! Great staff !! Overall - Very understaffed - because 90% had all inclusive drinks this caused delays in bars and restaurants being served - Cabin clean - good size balcony Spectra cabaret - fabulous the two70 venue amazing !! Never again in school holidays - was embarrassed to be British - felt like I was in a nightmare in benidorm Not once in 14 days could I get a swim in the outside pool and you don't pay 8k for this experience !! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Paying best part of £8000 wanted it to be a holiday of a lifetime and at that price it should have been ,ship looks great but understaffed by 500 and overcrowded by 1000 ,food was ok at best , the pool area was a joke if you managed to ... Read More
Paying best part of £8000 wanted it to be a holiday of a lifetime and at that price it should have been ,ship looks great but understaffed by 500 and overcrowded by 1000 ,food was ok at best , the pool area was a joke if you managed to get a sun-bed (all gone by 6am!!!!!) they are so tight together you have to crawl onto them and no chance of getting a drink down the side , what were royal Caribbean think when planning this ship its obvious there was never going to be enough room for all the passengers ,also don't wait to be served a drink not a chance you have to get your own and join the battle at the bar. The crew did try their best but looked demoralized and tied asking to take up the extra work , if you had problem please do not waste your time going to guest services probably there for show could not solve any problems and just seemed to go through the motions I could go on if I had paid £4000 I probably would not be moaning so much but at £8000 it should have been so much better Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our 3rd and least enjoyable cruise with RCI. Where do I begin? 1. The ship is too old. The moment I saw it I was filled with dread. Outdated, smelled of mildew the entire cruise. Horrible decor. Eyesore. 2. Staff was ... Read More
This was our 3rd and least enjoyable cruise with RCI. Where do I begin? 1. The ship is too old. The moment I saw it I was filled with dread. Outdated, smelled of mildew the entire cruise. Horrible decor. Eyesore. 2. Staff was inattentive. Had to hunt for drinks, tables etc. They could care less unless tips were involved nearing the end of the cruise. 3. Food. Less just say, we lost weight. Decent food a problem. Salad bar pitiful. Desserts cold, dry. Omg beverages warm water and lemon like water disgusting never a cold drink. Buy dinner package for a break from the Windjammer and dining room. The menu was a regurgitation of the previous day. Yuck! 4. The cruise compass of daily activities was a joke. First of all the ages of most passengers averaged 60. We're 45-50. The activities catered to seniors BORED OUT OF OUR MINDS Stayed in our smelly cabin a lot. 5. Excursions a disappointment. Do not go on an excursion in Morracco expensive and diappointing. The guide rushed us along a filthy marketplace where most citizens appeared hostile. Guided to 4 stores where the merchants gouged tourists. We were scared and annoyed. Brochures of most excursions are embellished to get you to buy them. 6. Casino too small and no video poker a joke. 7. Entertainment was good but not stellar. Sorry, but I will rush to pay this trip off so I can really feel it's behind me. I have stories to tell of this vacation and most not good. Research well before booking and ask about ages of passengers and ship because there is nothing worse than being on the voyage of the damned for 12 days. We actually packed an entire day early and fell into despair when we realized we had another day at sea. Sorry but the Explorer of the Seas not to be in dry dock for good. If this was my first cruise it certainly would have been the last. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Having cruised previously with princess in the Caribbean, I was sadly disappointed on this trip. It appears they have huge problems with the dine anytime system. If you wish to eat at 5.30pm it will be fine,anytime after 7pm there is ... Read More
Having cruised previously with princess in the Caribbean, I was sadly disappointed on this trip. It appears they have huge problems with the dine anytime system. If you wish to eat at 5.30pm it will be fine,anytime after 7pm there is usually an hour wait standing in a queue,sometimes even longer. On the second day of our cruise, it was my friends birthday,at 9pm with still a long queue we paid 50dollars extra in the grill dining room to ensure we had a meal. People were very angry at the queuing,one person requested to speak with the captain. To be fair to Daniele the maître 'd',who rang me early the next day after lodging a complaint,he allowed us to change to the set time dining in another restaurant. His explanation that the British liked to eat late,did not wash,before he explained that head office were aware of the problem. It is very unfair on the hardworking staff,to be receiving the flak ,instead of those sat in their ivory towers. I found the drinks on board very expensive especially after adding gratuities on every drink,and the policy of allowing guests to take one bottle of wine on board scheming,when they know they have a captive audience. Princess cruises are trying to take their customers for every penny once they are on board. From the excursions to other customer based services. Because we were on the 2nd meal sitting,it was difficult to get a seat in the theatre,often left standing to watch a show. When at sea the sun beds were reserved from 7am,often with no one using them until after lunch. I understand a lot of people have mobility problems,but the exceptional numbers of people with scooters ,wheelchairs etc.was quite unbelievable. Some did not seem to have a problem rushing into dinner quite ably when that time arrived after mowing down a few passengers in the rush! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
After all the hype regarding this new ship (which I must say P&O did a brilliant job in conning the public with their publicity machine) what a total let down!! No problem getting on the ship we arrived a few minutes before allocation ... Read More
After all the hype regarding this new ship (which I must say P&O did a brilliant job in conning the public with their publicity machine) what a total let down!! No problem getting on the ship we arrived a few minutes before allocation time for our check in 1pm if P&O are issuing allocation times please stick to it for everyone!!! I have itemised a lot of this review because I will be here all week, here goes: Cabin: as stated on other sites smaller than normal, balcony must be smallest ones ever built on ships this size. Liked the Bed and Shower cubicle door as against shore curtain however had to open the door to dry off heaven help larger people. Theatre: to small even for two shows no side stairs so everyone stands up on your row when the late arrivals look for seats. Air conditioning very cold and noisy from half way up theatre to back. Drink holders don't do the job they where fitted to do, and yes get in at least 30 mins before shows to get a seat. Live Lounge: as with theatre to small so get in here at least 45 minutes before tribute act show or comedians late shows. Limelight and Sindhu: don't know who the chefs are on these two venues but the food on our cruise in there was brilliant but I go along with other reviews they can make you wait ie: push the drink sales!! As I said earlier will cut this review down now the faults!! Teething problems? Don't think so: The lifts are an absolute joke especially for disabled or anyone with walking aids it's ever an for theirselves when one arrives. Power cut all through ship one night captain said "We ran out of 50p pieces!! Fire incident in incinerator room one night? Fire and ocean??? Do not mix!! Two lifts broken one day, one not working for 4 days!! Numerous toilet cubicles out of order both men and women during the cruise, gave us something to do on sea days as there was little else going on. Forward lift stuck on floor 7 with doors open for nearly a day!! Funny watching people rush into it with doors open and it never moved. Sink soap taps throughout the ship worked by sensors not giving soap out hence numerous plastic bottles with Sanex liquid soap in. Sink water sensor taps on two occasions water streaming out and unable to shut off, staff did not seemed bothered about reporting it? Returning home through the Bay of Biscay (force 9!)we decided to have a nightcap in the Crows Nest Bar we sat down just got our drinks then the metal ceiling panels began to crash down!! These are about 3x2 ft then a light fitting!! A waiter came over to reassure us his comment to us was "We know where the loose ceiling panels are so we do not put the tables and chairs underneath them just in case people get hit with them" reassured!!! Got up and took our drinks back to the cabin as numerous other people did! Finally getting off the ship think they wanted to keep us all on again to go round the Fjords for 7 nts!! Our allocated time to disembark was 9:30 am around 8:30am they said there would be an hour delay at 10:45am we where called to our disembarkation point we eventually left the car park in our own car at 11:30am the whole disembarkation problem according to taxi drivers, coach drivers, car park attendants is ongoing with nearly every cruise because P&O are not used to handling these big ships! A note for people in wheelchairs and fixed frame walking aids the doorways to normal cabins are smaller than normal hence the chairs or frames will not go through so they will have to be dismantled to get through, the disabled cabins are ideal with wide doorways, wet rooms etc no problems with those however if you leave your cabin in the morning and the cabin stewards cleaning trolleys are parked in the corridors (up to 4 in our friends corridor) be aware that wheelchairs will not fit past them the corridors seem to be a bit more narrow than other ships Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
After many cruises with RC,we have always come home excited to tell everyone about the unusual and special things that only happen on a cruise. We have cruised with many cruise lines and of course they also have that one and only type of ... Read More
After many cruises with RC,we have always come home excited to tell everyone about the unusual and special things that only happen on a cruise. We have cruised with many cruise lines and of course they also have that one and only type of holiday that you get when cruising. Last year we went with three different cruise lines NCL, in March, RC,Adventure Of The Seas in July and in October P & O. Each had a small spin on the same unique holiday called cruising. On 29 Oct 2014, We have just come back form the cruise dated 12 October 2014 Called Med Cities,on The Adventure Of The Seas, in a Junior Suite Room number 7692. What a Big difference a year makes as this is the second time in a row we have used this ship we were in the Italian part of the med last year!! First of all I would like to say we feel we were duped by getting a Junior Suite all that money for a few extra square feet!!!! disgusting Although we were told that we had restricted viewing We were not told that on the days we could actually go on the balcony we would have to put up with staff on the deck just below ours having their breaks sitting there smoking and messing around. Of course it's not their fault But had we been informed of this we would not have taken the room even if it was for free!!!( We will never ever get another Junior Suite!! With the restricted views we hardly had any sunshine our Balcony It was always wet or damp couldn't really use it!!!! When we looked out our views were completely spoilt by the staff smoking and chatting!! ( Again it's not there fault they have to sit there!!) We went to reception to comment the lady wasn't interest and said all we could do was write to you at head office, Royal Caribbean on our return!!! We traveled bus which was new, comfortable and for us it meant the start of our holiday. We were late getting on the ship due to a strict hygiene deep clean after a small S & D breakout on the previous cruise. The Safety Drill went ahead even though passengers were still trying to broad THIS IS SURELY AGAINST MARITIME LAW as all passengers must take part!!!!!! Albeit that your staff in the past have been Fabulous on this trip they weren't!!!!! We would stress that it's not there fault, it's all the cutbacks, less staff working to hard, making mistakes and making our time very impersonal To which we were saddened to see!!!!!! What's happened to all the nice things like folded towels etc. Ice Sculptures, dinner staff going around singing or just to music with us guests waving our serviettes,The Flower Trolley, champagne and chocolates,this is the type of thing we liked on our cruises. Making this type of holiday unique, that's why we chose cruising and introduced our friends and family to it there were twelve of us last year and it was wonderful what's Happened!!!!!!!!!!! Last year a few of our group smoked they went outside didn't mind at all but this year you have allowed it in the casino we use the casino quite a bit and all we could smell was smoke it was awful and In fact that is all you could smell all over!!! I'm sure in fact I know it's not allowed to be in public places because secondary smoking causes CANCER it's also against the law!!!!!! But as you are on the ocean you think you can do as you please If that carries on that's something else we will not be doing going in the casino!!!!!!!!! It's so sad to see a company of your calibre and 40 plus years in the business to loose track on what cruising is all about we know that it's always about making money but surely please don't loose sight of that personal touch that quite a lot of cruisers like. The staff have always been very polite and professional but to many cutbacks has changed all that, My Time dinning has also changed the way the staff interact, they just don't have the time to be friendly!!!!! Even your entertainment has become like what you would expect on a caravan camp holiday!! Although their was a couple of star turns to which you flew in!!!!! The ship it's self was in need of a complete update because everywhere looked dated. We read that the ship had some work done on some areas but we did not see this!!!!!! Our only savour to this holiday was the trips we took around the cities, getting off the ship for home was good! We have a cruise booked next year and sadly if it's like the one we have just been on we won't be returning to Royal Caribbean. Thankyou for listening and we hope you can take these few points on board. Shaun Wood   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We say that most of the staff of Royal Caribbean have to work with situations they can not control. Our stateroom steward was wonderful. He had to deal with our terrible situation. 1. Restroom smelled like urine everyday. He used bleach ... Read More
We say that most of the staff of Royal Caribbean have to work with situations they can not control. Our stateroom steward was wonderful. He had to deal with our terrible situation. 1. Restroom smelled like urine everyday. He used bleach regular to clean and pour down the drain. 2. The stateroom smelled like urine regularly. 3. The refrigerator did not work. Told 5 minutes after arriving. The steward called repeatedly. On night 12 the steward changed the refrigerator on the guest service called to say they replaced it when they found out. So it was day 13 before we knew it worked. 4. Soot was on the bed, regularly, coming from the air conditioning vent. 5. The lock on the stateroom stuck almost everyday. 6. The dietary issues. The chef was Jamaican, and when told by the head waiter what to make, would not. Deserts were repeats of the samething. They tried to issue fruit. I would do what I was told by the head waiter. Then I would go to the grill at lunch, no desert of limited choice for meal. Then the food was often not the correct temperature. Hot food cold, cold food warm. 7. Then discuss issues. The guest service would not answer, or just shrug her shoulders. 8. The Guest Services was not forthcoming on port information. All options of port transportation. Say there was only a 15 euro transport, but there was one that was free, Valencia, Spain. 9. The ship had a terrible smell of waste on the fourth deck by the theater. 10. Royal Caribbean is missing the final touches. They are lacking the staff to complete. Less staff in the dining room. They don't clean the table from crumbs after dinner before desert. There was a shortage of staff. 11. Payment for things that use to be free. We would show up to a craft presentation, they would want to charge $9.95. People would get up and leave once they found the price. I filled out the survey for them. What is so said, people on the cruise brought things up everyday at breakfast. We didn't say a thing. 50 percent of the guest did not go to the dining room. The head waiter said the cruise before was 98 percent. These low numbers were unheard of. People left the theater in droves some nights. The performances were poor. It was a major conversation the next day at breakfast and dinner. There was something that were good. We had a good time with many people. Made new friends. We bonded on the terrible service and problems of the day. We are thankful we were not stranded at sea. If we had never had the quality service of the past cruises, we wouldn't know better. That is why future cruises must be on another company. We have had a good trip overall, but were very disappointed with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We took our third Mediterranean cruise in as many years in August with Royal Carribean, having been previously with Princess and Cunard. Good things first - the staff were pretty good, checking in and disembarking at Southampton was very ... Read More
We took our third Mediterranean cruise in as many years in August with Royal Carribean, having been previously with Princess and Cunard. Good things first - the staff were pretty good, checking in and disembarking at Southampton was very efficient and, errr, now I'm struggling. Oh wait, the breakfast buffet was quite nice too. And the cabins were clean. I'm afraid there's quite a long list of what was bad: 1. In Villefranche, we queued for 4 hours and failed to get off the ship. The tendering operation was a shambles. The cruise line largely blamed the French authorities but that was a cop-out - we were waiting on the promenade deck and we saw tenders sitting alongside for 30 minutes at a time completely empty, whilst the staff messed around trying to give priority to people that had booked excursions but hadn't shown up on time. We also heard later from people that had got off that there were loads of people jumping the queues - there's little point having people go to collect a ticket to determine which batch they can disembark in if you're not going to do anything about people just barging in. We eventually got a bottle of horrid wine as compensation for having the whole day ruined. Not good enough. 2. The food in the restaurant in the evenings was really poor and got steadily worse as the cruise went on. There were 3 soups on the menu every night and far too many vegetarian options. By the last evening one of the main offerings was "vegetarian chicken" or "quorn" as it is better known. Unbelievable. We ended up going to the burger joint (for which there was a cover charge) or the buffet area for dinner, on the basis that at least there would be something that would take your fancy. 3. The kids on the ship (which was apparently about half of the total passengers) were allowed to completely run riot. You couldn't use a stairwell without there being a bunch of morose teenagers sitting in your way or a gang of younger children running up and down. There were lots of children on the Princess cruise we went on two years ago but they were chaperoned at all times whereas Royal Carribean just washed their hands of them, it seemed. There were shuffleboard games available on the Promenade deck and we observed gangs of teenagers smashing the pucks so hard into each other that they were flying overboard. When they got bored of this they threw the equipment to the floor and stalked off. There were a couple of security staff up by the kids pool on occasions but not nearly enough of them - Princess would have never permitted such behaviour. 4. The ship was too crowded, or there were not enough facilities, depending on which way you want to look at it. There were big queues for everything; only two pools to service over 2,500 passengers?!!! The kids pool was absolute mayhem all day every day - it looked like "children soup" The adult pool was tiny so even though the behaviour in there was generally civilised, it was literally standing room only. It was absolutely impossible on some days to get a lounger or even a seat outdoors anywhere on the ship. They had all been reserved by the "get up at 7am and put your towels down" brigade. There were rules posted about stuff being removed if a lounger remained unoccupied for 30 minutes but this was hardly ever enforced. 5. Whilst one can accept that Royal Carribean can't vet the people that sign up for their cruises, it has to be said that this one involved some appalling standards of behaviour on the part of the passengers. We heard that quite a number of passengers were offloaded at the various ports of call for one transgression or another and I can well believe it. This is certainly the most "dumbed down" cruise we've been on - Cunard had much higher standards and Princess weren't far behind either - I wouldn't book Royal Caribbean unless the "booze cruise" idea appeals to you, to be honest.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We have just returned from a western med cruise June 12 to 29th on the Crown Princess. 1, check at the mayflower terminal was abysmal we had preferred checking and arrived at the time stipulated on boarding ticket there was two huge lines ... Read More
We have just returned from a western med cruise June 12 to 29th on the Crown Princess. 1, check at the mayflower terminal was abysmal we had preferred checking and arrived at the time stipulated on boarding ticket there was two huge lines of people waiting and the people with mobilty problems were also trying to negotiate the double lines as well. 2,Entertainment was well below the standard that Princess cruises in the past have provided for passengers enjoyment. 3,Brand loyalty we went to the Captains Circle none event ???,arrived at 17-30 as requested to find place full and not a great deal of organisation,I will not bore you with details but at 17-55 asked to collect your drinks if you had got one and leave as we have to prepare for next group! 25 mins, was a waste of mine and the crews time a bigger venue perhaps and not been made to feel as though Princess were doing you a favour by inviting you. 4,Water leaks in some of the cabins (staterooms) appears to have been a problem and in various parts of the ship in some areas towels were on floor by cabin doors is not a good sign and outside the Wheelhouse bar a smell was noticable, I have asked friends of mine who were on the previous cruise to the Canaries if they had the same problems they said yes,and also agreed on the entertainment. 5,A lot of the passengers were of the opinion that Princess had used a lot of the more experienced crew on the launch of the Royal Princess, this cruise was not what we expected perhaps it is time to try other options. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I had been looking forward to this cruise for months, Having been on other PO Cruises the Aurora, Adonia, Ventura, Oceana, The only was I can describe the ship is well past its sell by date,My cabin was tired and grubby, the carpet very ... Read More
I had been looking forward to this cruise for months, Having been on other PO Cruises the Aurora, Adonia, Ventura, Oceana, The only was I can describe the ship is well past its sell by date,My cabin was tired and grubby, the carpet very worn and filthy, The shower was old and very mouldy around the shower unit the shower head caked in old scale, The wardrobe smelt damp and the doors rattled, I asked for a different cabin but told they had none available,The whole corridor stank of sewage, the smell was over powering and I am sorry a steward with a can of air freshener does not really cure the problem.I was not told on embarkation that there had been Norvo Virus on the previous cruise and was quite shocked when I ventured into the Conservatory to find waiters serving all the food and the sachets of salt and pepperThe Conservatory restaurant the only way I can describe is a bad Motorway cafe, Bunfight at the ok corral, The tables were not cleaned,The area at the far end on the deck had a smoking area and all you could smell at the end of the Conservatory was smoke not nice while trying to eat a meal and each time the door opened the smoke invaded,The Peninsular Restaurant, where did you find the staff. were they trained by Basil Faulty, they were rude and very unhelpful, during breakfast I had the experience of a waiter pushing my chair in while I was eating if he had asked I would have moved but no he preferred to just push so I ended up wearing my breakfast no apology, If you asked for further coffee or tea they refused the main aim was to sit you down and get you out as soon as possible. They were very abrupt I guess that was the training from the school of Faulty Towers,Afternoon tea Peninsular after the free for all in the Conservatory thought I would do things the good old PO way and have a proper afternoon tea, well Basil Faultys training was shown to its best, Offered Scones and little fancy cakes, then came the tea, something missing oh yes the sandwiches, they arrived after the cakes, teacakes and scones, Woe betide anyone that asked for more cream of more tea, the looks from the waiters would have turned Sybil Faulty to stone,All that was missing was Manuel but I am sure he was in hiding as the place was chaos.Evening meal..I was in the Oriental , that was a great improvement on the other restaurant, the staff were slightly better, But what have you done to the fantastic food, did you leave it behind in Southampton, everything was over cooked and stuck in fat to the plate, and the choices were nothing like my previous cruises.Standards have dropped,I had cheese and biscuits one evening one tiny piece of cheese and 2 small crackers and he had gone, If you want to see the photo ask, Your food used to be the highlight of my cruises,Entertainment the Headliners were very good as were the other acts and the male tenor from New Zealand was fabulous, However I don't go on a cruise just for entertainment,The swimming pool was warm and very inviting but not very clean , The hot tub was also not clean, not sure why standards have dropped.The service in the bars was brilliant but the quizzes and day time activity's left a lot to be desired,The port stops were good and I enjoyed myself , In Lisbon I did try and find out the cost of flights back but none available as I would have left then,You have major problems with toilets, blocked dirty, no wonder there is Norvo Virus its down to cleanliness and PO seem to have missed that,Within a day of leaving the cruise I was very ill, with a non specific infection which nearly killed me , and required me to have triple antibiotics, and home nursing from the district nurse, and daily visits from the Doctor, as I refused to go into hospital (personal reasons) What ever I picked up on the cruise has left me sick for the last 5 weeks, Yes I was tested for many things, but nothing specific, All I do know when I boarded Oriana I was well, I would love to know if others had been ill,Would I travel with PO again that would be No the standards have dropped. I also would never have boarded had I known the problem on the previous cruise with Norvo Virus, and I do think all passengers should had been made aware on Embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Having just returned from our first cruise, I feel it essential to pass on what are our shared thoughts on the experience. We were a party of four, all aged over fifty, and as stated, we were all embarking on our very first cruise. We ... Read More
Having just returned from our first cruise, I feel it essential to pass on what are our shared thoughts on the experience. We were a party of four, all aged over fifty, and as stated, we were all embarking on our very first cruise. We booked early, and that was our first mistake, we paid FULL price with no discounts offered, indeed at the time my wife and I booked we were not offered free parking at SOUTHAMPTON, but my sister and her husband who booked days after we had booked, were offered free parking, CHING CHING another £130 pounds cost for us. Weeks before our departure, the original itinerary was changed, we were due to have an overnight stay in Majorca, but this got changed and an additional stop added, Allicante. No big problem other than we were not advised by RCI of these changes, we only found out about the changes from my sister, who had booked via an Agent. When I pursued this fact with RCI they advised that we HAD been advised by letter, but no letter was ever received, so RCI then sent me a WORD document advising of the changes, it was an "OPEN" word document that I could edit at will if I had wished too, a bit unprofessional I thought , but we marched on. The actual ship is difficult to criticize The Independence of the Sea's is a stunning site and a beautiful ship. My wife and I had booked a Superior State room with balcony, which was in truth very nice, and was maintained well throughout the cruise. However we made what I now regard as a big mistake in pre paying our gratuities,some £120 each, big mistake, the service we received was "adequate" at best and downright "rude" at worst. In hindsight I would have had no qualms at disembarkation and leaving nothing. Whilst I would not regard it as being a mistake, we had also booked a Platinum Wine and Dine package that worked out at £25 a bottle for twelve bottles of wine. It was not a mistake because if purchased on board wine was a minimum of $40 a bottle, and you don't have other options, any wine or booze bought whilst ashore will be confiscated and returned when you are due off the vessel. None of our party are what could be classed as BIG drinkers, but all of us like a drink in the early evening, I would warn all that the drinks on board are expensive, and in addition keep a close eye on what you are served, on more than one occasion we were served with the likes of Gin and Tonic with virtually no gin having been included, keep a close eye on your account as well, as it seems to be common practice to add drinks to your account that you have not actually taken, again on several occasions we were obliged to report these "mistakes" to the customer services desk whereupon the charges were removed without quibble ... strange we thought. There are very limited provisions made for smokers inside the vessel, only The Cigar Bar, which whilst under sail is full to capacity, small with insufficient seating. There is external seating for smokers but as soon as the ship leaves port, even Med Ports of call, the wind whistles through the defined area's making them extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant places to be seated. There are thousands of sun beds and seating in areas that catch good sun, with a policy that if vacated for more that thirty minutes should be relinquished. this just does not get enforced and people, usually the same people leave their personal belonging on their well situated beds and retain them for the day. Coffee and snacking areas are usually full, and again people utilizer these as general seating area's so this limits the seating for those wishing to take a coffee with a snack, this is especially true whilst at sea, be warned. The food was good but we found it very repetitive. Our cruise was predominantly occupied by over 80's and never have I been obliged to share confined areas with such a rude and inconsiderate bunch of fellow holiday makers. We witnessed numerous MIRACLES, BY WAY OF WHAT WERE APPARENTLY WHEEL CHAIR BOUND PASSENGERS, that once off the ship were perfectly capable of strolling round the port's of call, some of which are really quiet demanding and hilly. However these miraculous cures appeared to be short lived, and the offenders returned to their wheel chairs upon boarding the vessel, I would hope that this was not to gain priority when having to queue of board an elevator but strongly suspect their motives and actions. Our cruise was heavily discounted two weeks before departure, with late bookers being given Room Upgrades more on board spending allowances etc We went We Tried it but NEVER EVER AGAIN .... NEVER Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Smooth and pleasant embarkation,2 bottles of water in my cabin with a notice on them, if consumed the cost plus 15% will be added to your account, cabin itself was nice. overall the ships decor was pleasant. always plenty of seating in the ... Read More
Smooth and pleasant embarkation,2 bottles of water in my cabin with a notice on them, if consumed the cost plus 15% will be added to your account, cabin itself was nice. overall the ships decor was pleasant. always plenty of seating in the lounges as the drinks were to costly, plus 15%.passageways to the lounges had goods from the shop displayed on tables just like a car boot sale (a hazard if there was an emergency). photographers were a nuisance really over the top and in your face. Main evening entertainment on stage lasted less than 3/4 of an hour. other activities at all other times were bits and pieces here and there, nothing lasting very long.Shuttle buses were very expensive.toilet rolls and paper towels were not being replenished on the last day, very awkward as you had to be out of your cabin by 7am. and sit around for disembarkation.the breakfast fruit juice was very watered down. food was repetitive and nearly all luke warm to cool. the " free" drinks stations, tea and coffee and water were on the 11th deck which had part open sides and was uncomfortable to visit after the sun had gone down as it was windy and the deck was usually wet and not much lighting and thy kept running out of sachets for coffee etc.other passengers were moaning a lot and when they knew this was my firts cruise the told me don't judge cruises by this one as this one was the worst cruise they had been on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
From the outside a beautiful skyscraper style ship. Inside it looks bland. Entertainment is poor. If you like 1960 Butlin's style entertainment this cruise may be for you. No 'donkey derbys' but lots of passengers versus ... Read More
From the outside a beautiful skyscraper style ship. Inside it looks bland. Entertainment is poor. If you like 1960 Butlin's style entertainment this cruise may be for you. No 'donkey derbys' but lots of passengers versus crew games - in the pool, on deck and in the casino. Shows were of a poor quality. Everything seemed to end at 10pm and then the ship was like the 'Marie Celeste'. Twice there were dance parties on deck (lasting 45 mins) and they were fab but ended promptly and then there was nothing to do. Two night out of 14 is poor. The ship is geared up for specialist restaurants (at an extra cost per person), cocktail bars etc. This is the first ship to have real grass on board. But why? There is one croquet set and a 'thing' to throw bean bags in. It's not a place to sit and relax. We were in Aqua class which gives extras but certainly not worth it. Our restaurant was 'Blu'. Food was average. Staff were over attentive. The cabin was a good size and clean. The balcony floor wasn't clean and a small drainage channel at the bottom of the balcony glass front was filthy. Never cleaned. There was an upper deck overhang and so the balcony was always in the shade. This suited me but many people like to sit in the sun. The bed smelled 'musty'. The duvet, bottom sheet and pillow cases were white, clean and soft cotton. The top sheet was a crumpled brown cotton sheet. Most strange. I would have loved thick cotton sheets - something like you would get in a hotel. The ship is only 2 year old, so I'm assuming the bed linen can only be this age too. But it was very 'charity shop like'. Excursions weren't good and badly organised. We had trouble finding our luggage when disembarking. Badly organised. Please don't let me put you off but do think carefully before you book. This is a new ship and should be a step forward and not a step back. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Western Mediterranean Cruise, E116.  June 18th - July 02nd 2011.  Our first impression upon boarding this ship was one of shabbiness. The carpets are all fraying, with holes and dirt all over them. The wall panels along the corridors are ... Read More
Western Mediterranean Cruise, E116.  June 18th - July 02nd 2011.  Our first impression upon boarding this ship was one of shabbiness. The carpets are all fraying, with holes and dirt all over them. The wall panels along the corridors are full of dirty marks and dents.  One evening as we walked along the corridor, we saw water pouring from an overhead light.  When we reported this to reception, we were told they were aware of this matter and not to worry.  Water and electric combined, but not to worry? A couple of hours later, we noticed that the water was still pouring from the light, but the crew had placed a bucket on the floor underneath, so that the carpet didn't get wet !!! All the woodwork around the decks is in dire need of a coat of varnish. The sun-loungers are desperate for a good jet-wash, if not in need of replacement. As we boarded the ship in Southampton, we were informed that our cabins had yet to be released and we should make our way up to the "Plaza" restaurant and help ourselves to a drink and a meal. After a few days of being on this cruise, some people started to refer to "The Plaza" as "The Canteen", "The Cattle Market", or even "The Piggeries"..... If those titles don't give you an idea of the state of the place, then I don't know what will !!! To be perfectly honest, I have eaten far better food in a works canteen !!! When we eventually got to our inside cabin, we entered a box that was anything but "Tardis" like. It was all of 10ft X 11ft, contained a double bed, a double wardrobe, a dressing table - with mirror, a bedside cabinet and another tall cupboard containing a fridge and T.V. The shower-room was off this area and measured approximately 5ft X 3ft. Now this may all seem quite functional, but when one of you is stood up getting dressed, the other has to lie on the bed, as there is no floor space left for anyone else !!! There are far too many passengers allowed onto this ship for comfort, leaving very little open space for anyone, at anytime, even in the so-called better restaurants. When we booked this cruise, we stated that we didn't want anything too formal. We like to get dressed up, but in a more casual way - shirt and trousers, as opposed to suit and tie. Our Travel Agent assured us that the formal theme was only an option and so long as we where smartly dressed, then everything would be fine. We did take our formal wear, as once in a while isn't too bad, but when we are on holiday, we wish to be relaxed; we don't particularly wish to be formal. The ship set sail on the Saturday. On the Sunday, we received two newsletters, both contradictory, stating that evening's dress code. Needless to say, everyone on ship was confused and later that afternoon, it was announced over the tannoy system that it would be a formal evening. Better late than never, I suppose !!! The following day, the same thing happened again. We did not wish to have two formal evenings together, so we dressed smart-casual. As promised by our Travel Agent, this wasn't a problem, not in the restaurant or theatre later. However, after we had been to the theatre, we decided to go to one of the bars (Magnums) for a last drink. Imagine our horror and embarrassment when the bar attendant told us quite loudly, in front of other people: "I'm sorry Sir, this is a formal evening and you are not suitably dressed. Could you please leave the bar". This particular evening just so happened to be our tenth anniversary, so made the situation even worse !!! Nobody books a P&O Cruise to be humiliated. We complained about this matter four times, twice verbally and twice in written form, but not once, did we receive any form of acknowledgment or apology. We now realise that P&O stands for Pretentious & Obnoxious !!! The trips ashore are on the expensive side and not very well organised. We did the Florence and Pisa excursions. In Florence, our guide was Italian. When we arrived, she gave us all a transmitter with ear pieces to place around our necks, for the guided tour. Not one of the transmitters worked, all that we could hear was crackling, everyone complained, but the guide took no notice. Consequently, we walked all around Florence, not knowing where in the City that we where, or what we were looking at. We then went onto Pisa, which was to be for one hour only, as time was tight. However, we hadn't been told that within this one hour, we had to do a ten minute walk from the coach and a ten minute walk back. As we arrived at approximately 3.0pm, we were informed that in order to climb the leaning tower, we would need to purchase tickets and book in for the next available tour. The next available tour was at 5.50pm. A three hour queue to climb the leaning tower is the norm, so why only take us there for one hour? This trip cost £74 per person, £148 in total, for a shambolic day out and again, no apologies !!! The so-called "entertainment" was something else, apart from one turn (Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising - a Freddy Mercury tribute) they were dreadful. Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising was on for four nights on the run though, a bit much, even if he was good. The rest of the turns were so bad, they wouldn't have stood a chance of getting through to boot camp on the X Factor. They would have been paid off and told to leave the stage in any working mens club. One particular night, there was a so-called Magician appearing, I've never actually seen anyone die on stage before, but not even his "magic" could make him survive that night, people were actually walking out mid-performance !!! The award for the worst act throughout the whole holiday though, has got o go to "The Headliners Theatre Company". This group couldn't have carried a tune in a bucket. I've seen better turns in an eye. From the screeching that was supposed to pass for singing, to the crashing about that was supposed to pass for dancing, to the annoying girl screaming "WOO" and kicking her leg up every ten seconds, it was all too much !!! One night, the comedian was so bad, even the "entertainment" staff kicked him off stage and cancelled his show for the following evening. To "compensate" for this "loss", a film was shown in the cinema - The Kings Speech - a film that had been repeated over and over on the ships TV, all that day !!! The whole experience was on a par with Butlins or Hi-De-Hi being at sea. The only difference being, Hi-De-Hi was extremely entertaining !!! All in all, a very bad experience aboard a so-called flagship company, one that we shall never be repeating !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
After returning from a cruise with P&O Ventura last year we were total cruise converts and so as soon as we came home we began searching for another fantastic family holiday. After much searching we were recommended RCI Independence of ... Read More
After returning from a cruise with P&O Ventura last year we were total cruise converts and so as soon as we came home we began searching for another fantastic family holiday. After much searching we were recommended RCI Independence of the seas. As they claim to be great for families and with a slogan "cruising is for kids too!" we thought we would be onto a winner. However, unfortunately, we found this to be completely wrong. Last year we went on Ventura which really is fantastic for families with young children. Firstly, they had a night nursery for under 5 year olds, completely free and you were issued with a pager so that they could get in touch with you if there were any problems. This was in a group setting and allowed us to have a few hours every night for dinner, drinks and entertainment. This is a fantastic service particularly as this is something we never get at home due to lack of babysitters. If your child preferred to stay up, they had a 'night time slumber party' where they tired the kids out first with loud and fun games, then dimmed the lights, put on a film and each child had a little sleeping bag where they either watched the film or slept. It also meant that the kids were fully rested each night and so were on good form the following day. We were hoping for something similar with RCI and had been led to believe that there was some form of babysitting available. When we boarded this time we found out to our dismay that, yes there was a babysitting service, but that it would cost us $19 per hour and would be in our cabin. We couldnt believe how expensive this was! And we wern't nearly as comfortable with a stranger being alone in the cabin with our children as we feared that they may be frightened if they woke up and found a stranger there. Plus we were told that it was 'just volunteers' that did this -(i dont know how this can be the case as surely a volunteer would be free?) But obviously this meant we didnt know if these people were vetted in any way either. Anyway, this meant that we never had a babysitter throughout our cruise as it was simply too expensive. So not only did we have our children with us every night, but also we were unable to sample any of the night time entertainment, something which is supposely included in the price when you book. It also meant that we had 3 grumpy, tired children every day as we did keep them up longer than they would have been at home in order to at least enjoy part of the evening on the holiday. On top of all this, from around 10pm we sat in a darkened cabin every night in order to let our kids sleep. Kids clubs: On Ventura this was available from 2yrs and up, they changed nappies and was completely free. On Independence, it was for 3 years and up, they changed no nappies, and over lunch time between 12 and 2pm there was a fee if your child wanted to stay there. What exactly you were paying for was unclear to us as all food is supposed to be included in the price you pay for the cruise. This we found very annoying. They also offered a 'late night party zone' after 10pm at night. For this - a fee also. Both of these were around $9 per hour, per child. Not only is this ridiculous to have to pay for, but also wholly inappropriate for young children. My children anyway do not want to party late into the night - they are exhausted and want to sleep!! I can understand how this would be good for older children maybe, but even then, I doubt if they would want to do this frequently. Other than this, the programme in adventure ocean did seem good. My kids really enjoyed all the arts and crafts and frequently wanted to go. On one occasion my three year old had a toileting accident. I was informed by a member of staff that if this happened again her time in aquanauts would be limited, and then if this happened a third time that she would be barred! I was aghast as my feelings are that if they decide to try to cater for 3year old they do need to accept that at times, even though they are toilet trained, that at times there may be accidents, particularly when in a new, exciting, busy environment. Plus, the rules seemed to be slightly fascist considering this was supposed to be a 'fun-filled family holiday'. For our 18month old they claimed they had a nursery with a programme of events and age-appropriate toys. We went to see this on our first day. It was in a small, dingy room right at the bottom of the ship with no natural light at all. The toys were all for much younger babies than ours, not at all appropriate. We never took him back. Swimming Pools: Independence has a childrens water park called the H20 Zone. This looked great and our children were very excited about it. We were informed however bvy who we ended up calling the 'swimming pool police' that our 18month old was not allowed in the pool as he wore a swimming nappy. How this can be called a child friendly zonebut ban kids in swim nappies is beyond me. Also, the whole point of a swim nappy is to enable a child who is not potty trained to swim in a pool without nasty leakages. Their policy is simply that no child wearing a swim nappy is allowed in the pool! So our poor 18month old was banished to a tiny 3metre square pool with around an inch or two of water in it. With around 4000 people on board this seemed wholly unfair and badly set out. Plus, due to the lack of water in this area, our son kept slipping and banged his head on the bottom of the pool quite a few times before we just took him out altogether. He was then very upset as he could see his sisters playing in the pool where hecould not join them. We would not have taken him or the other two into the other pools, but think that if they are going to have a child/family pool then a child wearing a nappy should be allowed to go in too. Family events: One token hour from 7pm onwards, family disco, family Kareoke and family nintendo wii! This was rubbish, as people can play wii at home anyway and plus our kids are again just not interested in wii. After 745/8pm nothing really available for kids and we had quite a few problems with other guests who frowned upon kids being in their presence after this time, not all I hasten to add, but enough for us to find it quite depressing. Other than this it was the cost of things that really started to ruin our holiday. After being shocked at the prices for babysitting and kids clubs etc we decided to forget about it so we could try to enjoy our holiday. However, it proved to be neverending as we felt that every time we turned our heads we were being asked for money. 1. There was no laundry onboard. Laundry was done for you by your stateroom attendant and was priced (highly) for individual items. Or, they did what they called a 'laundry special' which was $25 for a bag of laundry. The bag was the same size as a carrier bag from a supermarket. Again, this may have been ok for couples travelling alone, but travelling with three young children generates a lot of laundry. We ended up spending $100 on laundry. 2. We had to pay for shuttles which was a total shock to us, them having been free on ventura. When we got to Toulon, or rather La Seyne we were told we would have to pay $60 for the short journey into Toulon! Fortunately there was a small tourist information office at the port where a very helpful girl advised us to take a small walk around the port - 10-15minutes and take the ferry over to Toulon. This took a total of about 20-25minutes and cost us 4 euros - they did not charge for the children. We complained about the cost of the shuttles to Guest services when we got back onboard and they told us that next time we would not have to pay for the children. Hen we decided we would just pay for the shuttle into Livorno when we arrived there as we wanted to travel to Florence that day, we were charged for our 5year old child - a total of $24 for a 10 minute bus ride into Livorno centre! On top of this, we got up really early so that we could be on the train to Florence extra early to get the monst out of the day, but we were sitting on the shuttle for around half an hour before it would depart as they wouldn't leave until 8am! 3. Drinks are very expensive. We spoke to several people who just didn't have wine with dinner or curtailed their drinking due to the expense. Champagne was about $8-9 a glass, cheapest bottle of wine at dinner $28-30. Lastly, the boat was so busy that we spent a lot of time wandering the boat trying to find somewhere to sit, or having to queue for a long time to get things. This is frustrating. On days when the weather was bad and no one was on deck, it was impossible to find anywhere to sit. There were ice shows on throughout the cruise but we were unable to see this as they sold out of tickets for all the performances. This seems unacceptable that some guests do not get to see a show when entertainment is supposedly pre-paid. On a positive note, our cabin was lovely. It was very spacious and excellent for a family. The staff we met onboard - our stateroom attendant, our waiters in the Macbeth restaurant and all the waiters in the windjammer were excellent and couldn't have done more for us. The staff at guest services were ok, but not as impressive as the others. Despite the limitations of the kids clubs, our older two girls, particularly our 5 year old did love the activities and were happy there. On the whole, we find it annoying that this can be described as a 'family friendly boat'. We were unable to get the rest we were hoping for, or to spend some time together as a couple due to the lack of help for parents. Our youngest seemed to spend most of the time in his buggy as there wasn't really anywhere to let him run around due to all the stairs etc and the club for him was no good. The cost of everything onboard, having worked really hard to save up for the holiday in the first place, put several limitations on our holiday and only resulted in us feeling annoyed. We will certainly not be sailing with Royal Carribean again and found the holiday very disappointing, but would definitely recommend Ventura for families in a similar position to ours. Unfortunately, ventura cant accommodate families of 5 in one cabin, which is why we didn't go with them again. The only criticism I could have given them is this. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Having just returned from a 16 day cruise in the Central Med on Azura(our 2nd P&O cruise), we will not be using P&O again.Until you see 3000 passengers in the Terminal, you do not realise what life on the ship is going to be ... Read More
Having just returned from a 16 day cruise in the Central Med on Azura(our 2nd P&O cruise), we will not be using P&O again.Until you see 3000 passengers in the Terminal, you do not realise what life on the ship is going to be like.We had a balcony cabin, which altho adequate had the smallest bathroom we have ever had on any cruise ship.(Toiletries were very minimal certainly no luxuries)Unfortunately we had quite creaky nights, especially when we had a bit of rough weather, when the cabin sounded as if something was loose in the walls.Food was adequate, but very repetitive, and for Vegetarians there was no choice in the Dining rooms, just one vegie starter and one vegie main course.ON four nights we ate in the Venetezia buffet because we prefered the menu.The other reason to eat there was that altho we were on 1st sitting for Dinner, we were unable to get from the Oriental Dining Room,the full length of the ship to the Playhouse Theatre in time to have a seat. We were told standing room only. as a consequence we thought we would await the next show, by sitting in one of the others lounges.This proved to be a nightmare; there are NOT enough seats in any of the lounges, or areas and one is forever trying to find a seat.Breakfast and lunch in the Venetezia Buffet is another nightmare, due to the lack of seating.My husband and I had to find two seats, and then one of us would wait until the other had returned with their food, before the other person could get their meal.Here again food very repetitive.We noticed that the staff were very few and far between.The port talks were poor, very little info given if you wanted to go ashore on your own.Lectures were lacking in choice;no craft sessions etc.On the whole to my mind a badly organised daily "to do" list, and far too many things were not complimentary.Ice cream bar, where a single scoop cost £1.15.P&O You have not done yourself any favours with this ship; and I must say this was the general opinion of passengers, especially passengers who had cruised with other lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was the worst cruise experience in 30 years.Priority embarkation did not exist at the time I arrived, hundreds of people milling around for up to one and a half hours. Grand suite was large and grand, unfortunately due to the lighting ... Read More
This was the worst cruise experience in 30 years.Priority embarkation did not exist at the time I arrived, hundreds of people milling around for up to one and a half hours. Grand suite was large and grand, unfortunately due to the lighting over the 2 basins in the bathroom, shaving had to be done in the mirror of entry hall to the suite, it was impossible to adjust the temperature in the shower without swamping the bathroom floor as some of the multiple shower heads faced the door .For the first week the bed linen was changed every 3 days, until I asked for a daily change.The so called butler is really a steward, charming but untrained and certainly not up to Grand suite expectations.. The Queens grill is a disaster area and has some of the dullest food on offer at sea.Cheap chicken , dull dry steaks, dreadful pies. Christmas day dinner of Turkey and trimmings, was in fact rolled processed fast food with one soggy roast potato and various other vegetables, tasteless gravy and stuffing all served up on the plate,this was not even a dogs dinner.On two occasions the ala carte menu was cancelled, the reason given was, all the guests turn up at the same time after the captains line up cocktail party and it makes the kitchen too busy, Isn't that sad, and just for a free glass of sparkling wine ! The Verandah restaurant which has an ala carte menu at extra cost of about $40 was in another world. Excellent high quality ingredients perfectly cooked and presented by good waiters, which is what I thought I had paid for in the Queens grill. This ship has serious problems which were obvious to everyone on board. Cunard are selling a product that they are unable to deliver.I will never set foot on a Cunard ship again . W A Turner. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My wife and I booked this cruise for our honeymoon earlier this year. We couldn't have been more disappointed by both the ship and P&O as a company. There were numerous issues with the ship, including a break down which meant ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise for our honeymoon earlier this year. We couldn't have been more disappointed by both the ship and P&O as a company. There were numerous issues with the ship, including a break down which meant missing a significant part of the itinerary and five solid days at sea for a return journey on a 14 night cruise. The ship looks tired, shabby and in need of a major refurbishment. There were a few areas of the ship which smelt strongly of sewage throughout the cruise which was very off-putting. We were so disappointed with the cruise and with P&O, that we decided to leave the cruise early and fly home. Having raised various issues with P&O both on board and after returning home, they have been unhelpful and unwilling to put things right. Please don't spend your hard earned money with P&O, they simply don't care about their customers or their ships. Dining: Having been on a number of other cruises with other lines, we were really looking forward to the food on board Oceana. We found ourselves consistently disappointed by the poor quality of food on board. The main restaurants level of quality was around that you would expect from a reasonable pub, certainly not restaurant quality at all. The self-service restaurant was absolutely unbelievable; I can honestly say I have had nicer hospital food. I find it difficult to believe P&O would offer such poor quality food to their customers. Overall I would say that the quality of food on board Oceana was the lowest I've ever experienced on board a cruise ship. Entertainment: Entertainment on board Oceana was average to poor. We walked out half way through one performance from the on-board theatre company as it was bordering on embarrassing. To say that the entertainment is on a par with a West End show is an insult to professional performers. The 'comedy' show that we watched on board was also cringe worthy. Some of the bar areas had pianists playing which we found very enjoyable. Stateroom: We stayed in a balcony stateroom which was quite small (but all Oceana cabins are on the small side, so this was not an issue). The room had everything we needed, but did look tired and dated. It was also not particularly clean. I don't think this is a reflection on the staff as they have such a short amount of time to clean rooms as new passengers arrive. We also found that the room was noisy, with music disturbing us until around 1am every night. Overall the stateroom was functional but definitely somewhere to spend as little time as possible. Service: Service from staff on board was varied. Our cabin steward was efficient, friendly and helpful. Staff in the restaurants were a different story - offhand, unhelpful and at some points plain rude. The Maitre d' even once commented to me "can you believe it takes 2 hours for some people to eat?!". To be honest - yes I think 2 hours is a reasonable time for a five course meal! Not on Oceana though as your plate will be removed within seconds of your cutlery touching it. Service from reception was not much better. My wife and I decided to leave the ship as we were so disappointed with the cruise. We were offered the bare minimum of assistance and basically dumped at the quayside in Monte Carlo. We even had to pay the extortionate on-board internet costs (approx. £10 for 15 minutes!) to book ourselves a hire car and return flights home. Upon returning home, we wrote to P&O in order to give them the opportunity to put things right. I'm disappointed to say that they did not take this opportunity, but rather sent letter after letter containing excuses for their inability to live up to customer expectations. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
CRUISE: 14-night Western Mediterranean, June 5 - 19, 2010: Independence of the Seas from Southampton. This was our 2nd RCI cruise and our 4th cruise overall. We had sailed on the Jewel of the Seas to the Baltic 5 years earlier. That was ... Read More
CRUISE: 14-night Western Mediterranean, June 5 - 19, 2010: Independence of the Seas from Southampton. This was our 2nd RCI cruise and our 4th cruise overall. We had sailed on the Jewel of the Seas to the Baltic 5 years earlier. That was a fantastic cruise and our expectations were high. Guests Range from younger couples to older couplers, well the full age range really, lots of first time cruisers and 500 kids on board but you wouldn't know it. In-fact the kids manners were far better than their parents Itinerary Ports of call, Gibraltar, Corsica, Cannes (Tender), Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga, Lisbon and Vigo. Embarkation Very fast and organised. In fact from leaving the hotel (DeVere Grand Harbour) to getting onboard only took 30 minutes. The Boat Virtual a brand new ship, well looked after and cared for. With 4000 guests onboard I expected us to be all crammed in like sardines in a can. Theres plenty of room aboard this ship and the first thing I noticed was how wide and spacious the decks and corridors. Well designed ship. Everything is centred around the Royal Promenade with the theatre at one end and dinning at the other. The only down side to this was that it got extremely busy at nights especially when all the tat stores were laid out. The bars shut on the upper outside decks at 8pm, I would have at lease expected that one would be open, after all we were on a Mediterranean cruise. It would have been nice to sit out on deck with a drink and watch the sun set. If P&O can do this on a Norwegian Fjords cruise were the weather can be, lets say cold, Why cant RCI do this on a Med cruise. I suspect that RCI want to keep you on the Royal Promenade to spend your money in their tacky shops. Venues Quiet a few to pick from but nothing to write home about. The pub on the Royal Promenade had the atmosphere of a morgue. The Labyrinth disco had a DJ with no personality. The Pyramid lounge (great venue) but RCI have turned it into a bingo hall. The only really decent venue was Olive & Twists. Stateroom We had a delux balcony room on deck 9, cabin 9588. There was nothing really delux about it. RCI must have employed a colour blind interior designer or as someone else put it, did they buy the carpets from a second hand shop in the 70's. Dining We did a table for eight and had great dining companions. Service and food were excellent and if you wanted Romeo our waiter would bring us extras. Must admit out of all the cruise ships I've been on the food and the service on the Independence have been the best. Windjammer. Food was OK with a great selection, tables were at a premium at busy periods but it all added to the cruise experience. One thing I must mention was when windjammer got busy usually 2pm onwards RCI brought in other staff to bring drinks around, nice touch RCI. Entertainment Well apart from the ice shows the entertainment was absolutely dire to the point were the guests were making their own entertainment The first weeks entertainment was a novelty value, by the second the passengers were walking out of the theatre in their droves. The entertainment provided in the various venues was very stayed and all seemed the same. The captains (Master) announcements at midday provided the best entertainment for the passengers. Oh and one other thing to mention, RCI have not got a clue on how to do sail away parties. Protocols One of the main reasons why I cruise on certain cruise lines is the dress protocols. This passed many passengers by on this ship and I can only describe these people as chavs. Walking around the ship on formal, smart casual or even casual nights revealed to me that a large percentage either did not bother or were unaware of the dress protocols onboard certain cruise ships. On the first formal night I walked through the Schooner bar (I later named this bar chav central ) in my tux and bow tie and got some pretty astounding looks. Disembarkation RCI have adopted a DIY option that Cunard users to disembark, which is you can carry your own luggage off between 6am to 9am. Excellent option and you'll be in your car within minutes of checking out on the ship. Conclusion. I wouldn't recommend this ship for seasoned cruisers. It's very clinical and corporate in it's approach, they dont seem to take onboard any good suggestions other than ones that generate cash (all I wanted was to sit out on deck on a beautiful summers evening with a drink). This ship is just one big corporate cash cow. I wouldn't cruise on this ship again, in-fact, I dont believe I would cruise with RCI again and I could never recommend this type of cruising to anyone. PS. Independence got the last laugh. Me and my partner have been laid up for the past week with a upper respiratory infection. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Well after reading a few reviews on here i thought oh well lets give it a go, FOOD-To me it wasnt that bad at all,the menus did change and even in the free ones,one night even having lobster and steak,we have gained a fair few pounds from ... Read More
Well after reading a few reviews on here i thought oh well lets give it a go, FOOD-To me it wasnt that bad at all,the menus did change and even in the free ones,one night even having lobster and steak,we have gained a fair few pounds from all the food and you never go hungry i felt it wasnt samey but some of the restaurants you paid the extra charge on like the steakhouse and the asian gardens was way overpriced,i liked the service,food and ambience in Le Bistro,the french restaurant and felt it should be of the higher service charge then the others. POOLS-I did not once go in them,the Adult pool only was freezing and not that big at all,then the kids pool which was far to deep and very SALTY to the point other people said that the pigmentation was coming off their skin and i saw it on a few people,my kids hated it and only went in a few times when they were hot,stupid to have only two pools for 2800 guests...... ENTERTAINMENT-Very cheesy and great if you are over 50yrs old most of the time,kids could go to the disco for an hour then for another hour later on,then they had to leave,for those that state about kids shouldnt be allowed to run around or be in bed at a reasonable time get a life,its their holiday just as much as the adults and if there is not entertainment for them wot else are they supposed to do,so most adults had to go back to their rooms with the kids and not enjoy themselves,the kids club was very pathetic good for the first two days so the kids can meet friends.Its called FREESTYLE for a reason..... It was also very expensive per hour if we were at port and the kids didnt want to get off and then in the evening after 10.30 if you wanted some adult time you had to pay a higher rate and the kids didnt want to go in as we were told it was boring. PRICES-The service charges were absolutely ridiculous,paying a service charge for a PEPSI,let alone on everything you purchased whether in Duty free,spa or the only shop which was mainly designer stuff,maybe the Pringles were designer for the price.If you are an American it probably was the same as home but for those others mainly the brits,far too expensive,we knew we had to pay a service charge on alcohol but not EVERYTHING!!!We paid a gratuity at the booking for a reason so after the cost of drinks and everything we had it removed the last day without a whisper from the reception,Do they know that they are overcharging if they are quite free to give it all back??? EXCURSIONS-Totally overpriced if you book through the ship and unless you have thousands to throw away you would have to remortgage your house to pay for them,i agree that reception etc wont give out much info if you dont book with them and want to do your own thing which we did,learn a bit of the lingo and hand signals and it will help alot,get on a train for 4 euros for a day ticket,eat what and where you want just make sure you get back to the ship on time because it SUPPOSEDLY waits for no one,thats bull the day we left Lisbon,Portugal a dozen people were 30 mins late the ship waited for them,are there exceptions then NCL??????? OVERALL-We will not be going on NCL again maybe not another cruise even though this was our first,if you are a couple over 50yrs go for it,if you have kids choose another cruise line as this is certainly not worth over £3500,a shame that Ocean Village are changing as we might of given that a go. Keep a close tag on your final bills,overcharging on things seems to a way of NCL making money.................. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We sailed on the 14 night med escape on 26th July 2009. We almost chose royal caribbean, a company we cruised with and loved! but instead we tried NCL- big mistake. We were late getting onboard, as the check in process over ran.Meaning we ... Read More
We sailed on the 14 night med escape on 26th July 2009. We almost chose royal caribbean, a company we cruised with and loved! but instead we tried NCL- big mistake. We were late getting onboard, as the check in process over ran.Meaning we missed the MANDATORY muster drill. We followed the very vibrant carpet to our cabin on deck 9. It was ok, not great. For dinner on board there are lots of restaurants that can seat you at "any time". This definately doesn't work. There are 2 restaurants that were included in the fare. Book early though as they were constantly full!the other restaurants all had a cover charge- worth it but still. We were practicvally forced into eating in the specialist restaurants if we wanted to eat before 11PM. Theres a few activities to do, its basically Butlins at sea. But be warned! Save your money, you need it for the shore excursions. Go for something that gives a quick tour and you could pay up to $800 for 4 people! Other piece of advice, dont use the coffee shop in the atrium, you pay alot for the worst coffee in the world served by rude bar staff. Also dont buy the bottle of wine that "follows you around the ship" It doesnt. We had half a bottle in One restaurant, so the following night we asked for the remained of the "cheap" $55 bottle of wine, and we were told we drank the whole bottle. Then the staff argued with us, making everyone turn around to stare at the event. They actually told us we were lying! Unbelievably rude. Never again NCL! worst cruise we have ever done definately cruising again with royal caribbean! If you have any sense you will too! Read Less
Sail Date July 2009

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