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57 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We have just returned from a 14 night cruise on the Norwegian Jade - Norwegian Cruise Lines. They told us that the ship was booked to capacity (2900 passengers)when we embarked. Here is a breadown of my review:Ship Info: Well appointed ... Read More
We have just returned from a 14 night cruise on the Norwegian Jade - Norwegian Cruise Lines. They told us that the ship was booked to capacity (2900 passengers)when we embarked. Here is a breadown of my review:Ship Info: Well appointed with lots of potential to make the cruise memorable alas this element was missing.Activities: Sub -standard. Absolutely nothing avaiable for 12-17 year olds which resulted in them jumping off stairs, lying around hallways and rambling aimlessly. There were no Youth Coordinators or any activities to keep these young people busy and happy. They had to entertain themselves. Service: DISMAL. For example staff would clear tables and not even wipe them. Poorly trained and not motivated to provide a great experience. Great people who are there to make a living. However, it is clear there is NO Passion in what they do nor is the Cruise Line invested in provding quality training.Ports and Excursions: Prohibitevley expensive from the ship and the Cruise Line makes sure you do not have any opportunity to learn about doing it yourself.  We were fortunate that we met some great people on the cruise and with the collective research we had done, we were able to do excursions via hiring taxis outside the port, hon-on-hop off buses etc at a fraction of the price that the Cruise offers. Infact Norwegian keeps warning you that there is a risk in not taking their excursions. They tell you that there is no fear of missing the ship if you go on their excursion. We found it was very easy to do the excursions on our own,however, we had to learn the hard way. ee met many people who had done the ship- excursion and were quite miffed that there was not enough info provided to passengers about do it yourself options.Dining: There were only 3 dining options that were included in the price for 2900 passengers, 1 was a buffet that literally had the same food for 14 days with a few variations in the carving stations. The other 2 restaurants had identical menus every night.  As it was freestyle you did not have seatings, however,if you dined between 6-7 pm there was usually a wait between 15-45 minutes.  If you tried to reservice after 10 they generally told you the reservations were full. If you reserved and did not show up or changed your mind, you could be charged $5, ofcourse the courtesy of telling ytou to clal them or advising that your table would only be kept upto 5 minutes of reservation time was not a option as money is their prime motivator. All of their other restuartants had a cover charge to enter.The buffet is just no equipped to serve  2900 passengers and they know this so many passengers end up going to the paying restaurants as they could not handle the food in the  buffet or other 2 restaurants.The food was sub standard. If you are used to good quality food, you will be disappointed.  The presentation at the restaurants was good. The only fruit you got at the buffet was melons, orange apples. No berries, papays etc. If it was cheap, they made it available. Yet when someone complained they got an incredible assortment of berries.The cruise entertainment was so bad that we had to rely on passengers for entertainment. What amazed me was that there were fully booked and yet could not invest in top quality on board entertainment.  Some of the acts they brought on board were fanastic and so were the production crew. However the entertainment crew (the ones that walk around all day and lead the games, karoke etc) were pathetic. They just could not relate to the audience and did not have the talent to engage and entertain a crowd. An 5 start all inclusive resort in Mexico would outshine them 100%. The teenagers had absolutley nothing to keep them engaged and you know what idle minds do particularly on a 14 day cruise!!The dj music was horrible, Great for the 55-70 year age grounp but nothing for the 20-50 year old group.NCL does not give you comment cards for reviews. I think they are smart and know what this would mean. Rather they advise you to write in or that you may be randomly surveyed!  I know this is speaking from a personal perspective, however, i can only say that we met tons of people on the ship that categorically stated they would never cruise on this ship or with NCL.  The alcohol was overpriced and you pretty much had to pay for every single thing on the ship. No juices were available after breakfast and soda was for a fee.Please read all the critic reviews as they are reality. I did so prior to my cruise however as I had already booked it, I was in denial and thought the critics were overboard. I now know better. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Our Voyage on the Norweigan Jade started on the 28th of june 2009 at southhampton. When embarking onto the ship my neice was told she was unable to board the ship due to the fact that we did not have written permission from her mother to ... Read More
Our Voyage on the Norweigan Jade started on the 28th of june 2009 at southhampton. When embarking onto the ship my neice was told she was unable to board the ship due to the fact that we did not have written permission from her mother to say that we where allowed to take her on the holiday, as no form was sent stating this fact I was therefore unaware that this was needed as we had no problem with the same senario on RCI independance. My neice started to cry thinking she was not going to be able to get on the ship, my wife and son boarded the ship with a half hour to spare with the relevant documents before we sailed. If NCL had not recieved the signature of the childs mother by the first port of call we where then informed that the child would have to disembark and arrange a way home. we understood that a service charge of $12 a day per person would be automatically charged to my account but not a drinks tax added to every drink purchased at the bars this was 15% gratuity charge for my conveniance of every bill.As for the food there was no variation on the choice of food that could be consumed on the ship, The buffet restuarant (garden cafe) was free style it was more like free for all, the same menu of food was available at lunch and dinner time and the menu stayed the same for two weeks, also 2 dining rooms the grand pacific and the alzimar had the same menu to choose from on the ship for the 2 weeks the blue lagoon resturant was also the same it had the same menu on 24hours a day for 2weeks and because of the expensive cover charges on the other restaurants this limited us to eat in these resturants so therefore had no variation of food for the 2 weeks onboard the ship, the charges on these resturants was between $10 and $25 or more per person. Entertainment on the ship was an absolute disgrace, the shows and quiz games lasted no more than 20mins, I could have done a better job myself. A comedian show which we where looking forward to seeing only lasted 20mins and to be honest wasnt very funny at all.The majority of the staff on the ship where in noway helpful whatsoever and did not go out of there way to help anybody on the ship with any problems or complaints that they might of had. It was always company policy or someone elses fault. On a number of occasions security had to be rang on the ship due to disturbances coming from the cabin next door, this is now our 3rd day home and I am still waiting for security to arrive. Teenagers run riot on the ship and under aged drinking was a major factor onboard the ship and this disturbed and angered a lot of families onboard.The ship itself was very expensive and was hard to try and keep to a budget, it was very difficult to be able to purchase anything onboard the ship. NCL is a cruise line that I will never be dealing with again, I think I will stick to your rivals who are a far superior cruise line, Royal Caribbean.  Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Here are a few tips from my NCL Jade Western Mediterranean 6/28/09 - 7/12/09 cruise. Food VERY VERY VERY SALTY. Dined only in the Grand Dining Room and Alizar and every night, the apps & entrees were extremely salty - they even added ... Read More
Here are a few tips from my NCL Jade Western Mediterranean 6/28/09 - 7/12/09 cruise. Food VERY VERY VERY SALTY. Dined only in the Grand Dining Room and Alizar and every night, the apps & entrees were extremely salty - they even added additional salt on top of the food. Service was also extremely SLOW - wait staff were inattentive and impersonal. Bread baskets were very unappetizing - the breads were cold and always the same. No "baked alaska" dessert on this ship. Entertainment The Jade singers/dancers only performed a couple of nights. Shows weren't memorable. Go early - Stardust theater was overcrowded for the one-time only shows and had to stand in the back a few times.ShipIf you're used to towel animals, you won't get it nightly here. The ship's interior is still "hawaiian" themed. Bring your own headphones if you plan on using the cardio equipment on the ship (each machine has its own tv). Port & Shopping Talks Staff informed us that there will be shuttles in certain ports and there weren't. There were very few shops listed on the shopping maps. Maps of each port were not available at the gangway - grab one at the desk in the Garden Cafe if the staff has any available, otherwise you'd have to memorize the map on display if you did not bring any of your own prior to going on the cruise. Only some port terminals had local maps. Ports BEWARE of pickpocketers, seriously! I caught a young female gypsy's hands in my brother's backpack in the 2 Euro store in Cannes. Watch out for the elusive "blind" folks in Lisbon - they're pickpocketers. Also, watch out for everyone in La Rambla in Barcelona - all of the men selling beer are pickpocketers and they all work together. Malaga Make sure you have small bills or change to purchase tickets from a machine at the Alcazaba Moorish fort and Gibralfaro castle. No one will break your large bills at these entrances. Gilbralfaro is walkable from Alcazaba if you don't mind hills. If you visit both, the combined entry fee is cheaper. Views are nice from both attractions. Barcelona NCL nickel and dimed in this port charging $10 pp for the Shuttle bus from the ship to Downtown and back for the 2 days we were docked. Cannes There are no changing rooms/bathrooms at the midi beach (only showers). Bring change (50 euro) for the public bathrooms if you see them. This was the only port that required tender boats. Livorno (Florence) Since it was a Sunday, the climb to the top of the Duomo was closed, but you could explore the interior of the church and climb up the clock tower (414 steps) for a nice view. Make sure you're dressed appropriately or they will give you a paper vest to cover your shoulders inside the church. Again, public bathrooms are not free (60 euro). Civitavecchia (Rome) If you take the train into Rome, take an early train back to the port. Our train back was delayed 20min and the last Free Shuttle back to the ship departed at 5p. Again, public bathrooms are not free (60 euro). Gibraltar Since we were docked for only 5hrs, we only had enough time to go up the Rock. Once you get off the ship, head directly to the Cable Car entrance without stopping at any of the shops along the way - it was a 30min walk. Then, there was a line to purchase tickets and to get on the cable car - we waited 35min. We were able to walk down the Rock and get back to the ship on time, stopping in St. Michael's Caves, Monkey's Den (which only consisted of a man selling monkey food from a small booth) and the Great Siege Tunnels. Lisbon There was a language barrier here. There is a Free Public Shuttle bus (it's a yellow bus, but don't confuse this with the yellow double decker tour buses) from the ship to downtown, but the last Shuttle back to the ship departed downtown at 4:30p (ship departed at 6p). Our driver didn't convey this to us and we thought the last Shuttle was at 5p like the previous port Shuttles. Must eat: the custard tart a.k.a. "PastEis de nata" or "PastEis de BelEm." VigoShops outside of the mall observe a 3-hour siesta from 2-5p.     Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Where to start? A large sum of money and a great deal of excitement were the build up to this two week cruise. Myself, partner and son had been looking forward to our holiday with great anticipation; we are not fussy holiday makers - ... Read More
Where to start? A large sum of money and a great deal of excitement were the build up to this two week cruise. Myself, partner and son had been looking forward to our holiday with great anticipation; we are not fussy holiday makers - just a young family hoping to make the most out of a stunning itinerary and a bit of luxury. Unfortunately the whole trip was a nightmare from start to finish. Upon arriving at Southampton, the valet parking was good and the complimentary glass of champagne was a nice touch, but within 5 mins of being on board and exploring the ship it became apparent that the ship was massively overcrowded. The outside decks were crammed - the inside restaurants were crammed. The bars were crammed. The lifts were crammed. The stairs were crammed. There was quite literally not a spare seat on board. Hopefully this will not last all cruise we think - maybe it's just because it's disembarkation.....no chance - NCL had vastly overbooked this ship and there were quite simply too many people on it - but more of that later. For now we head to our cabin. Our cabin was comfortable but small, however good use of mirrors allowed you to think it was bigger - the balcony was nice and clean. Overall it was pleasant, fine for out 14 nights. We have now been on board for about an hour, time to see if those crowds have gone. No they have not. In fact they have swelled and to make it worse the 'crowd mentality' has set in. All over the ship there is pushing and shoving, queue jumping and overall rudeness mostly from British passengers. I am born and bred British - have lived in London all my life, but the behavior of several snooty, Daily Mail reading passengers was an absolute disgrace and made me ashamed to be British. This behavior of fellow passengers continued throughout the cruise. Some passengers simply had no manners (mainly middle aged British women in floral dresses) but most were fighting their corner simply because the ship was so over-crowded. Many had a real problem with kids being on board - although to be fair there were many groups of very young kids swarming all over the ship their parents obviously having a holiday from parenting. Parts of the ship were also designated 'no kids' areas - the Spinnaker Lounge for example was no kids after 11pm which was fine considering it kept out the unsupervised ones but was a shame for the kids that actually could behave themselves. This resulted in kids who were not in the kids club having nowhere to go so they hung around stairwells and played with the lifts... Oh well - maybe the food will perk things up. There are 13 restaurants on board. The handbook in our cabin says "a few restaurants may have a cover charge". Upon exploring change that to the MAJORITY. There were only FOUR 'free' restaurants, all the others have a cover charge ranging from $10 to $25 per head. Out of the four free restaurants (that were of course always overcrowded) two served the same menu (the Alizar and the Grand Pacific) one was a buffet (the Garden Cafe) and one served Micro-waved American junk food (The Blue Lagoon). Of course the ones with a cover charge served nice food however anyone considering travelling with NCL on the Jade should be under no illusion EATING IS NOT FREE if you want even a half decent meal. Furthermore the 'Freestyle' concept is just nonsense. The overcrowding makes it impossible to eat 'whenever'. The staff are only too aware of this and rush customers through like cattle - on one occasion we were served all three courses together! To go through the cruise day by day would be too painful so here is a summary! The Jade is an American ship thus most of the staff you would imagine would be American however this was not the case. I would say at least 80% of the staff was from the Philippines - of course this was not a problem at first , most were smart, polite and well mannered, however there was a huge issue with the language barrier. Many of the staff had a very poor grasp of English and on a daily basis communication was an issue. Furthermore many showed signs of inexperience. One night of the cruise there was a power cut on some decks (!) the ship had to stop mid-sea in the middle of night and the only assistance was one poor reception girl who could not speak English fluently in anyway. Most shockingly some members of staff were extremely rude towards passengers. One male member of bar staff in the Martini Bar made two extremely offensive remarks to my partner regarding her age, another female member of staff in the Casino on the 'euro roulette wheel' was extremely rude and disrespectful toward me on our last evening. We were disgusted with the attitudes of these two members of staff in particular - needless to say on the final night I registered two formal complaints against these two members of staff before we left. The entertainment blew hot and cold. Two comediennes were good, a lovely piano player (Lex) and a couple of good magic shows was the 'hot'. The 'cold' was the absolutely dire 'Second City' cabaret act, which unfortunately was on nearly every night - this in tandem with the master of ceremonies was possibly the most vomit inducing tripe I had ever seen. There was some good to the cruise (thankfully) - the excursions were very good - we really enjoyed Pisa, Rome and Villefranche. Our son loved the Kids club and the staff that ran the club were very nice and worked really hard with the kids. Also the young man who cleaned/maintained our cabin was lovely. The positives really do end there. The 'days at sea' were a nightmare - the decks were completely packed there was no space at all around the pool (incidentally the pool is about the size of a postage stamp) - there was not a sun bed going spare on the entire ship one afternoon - needless to say 60% of the sun beds were taken up by towels (and Daily Mails). And of course the pushing and shoving and bad manners of fellow passengers continued. Throughout the cruise we felt nothing more than walking dollar signs and were permanently having sycophantic advertising shoved down our throats from start to finish. AND, they charge a $10 per day per head service charge to your onboard account 'for your convenience'(!!!!!!) - needless to say the queue on the final day for reception was huge - probably people refusing to pay it. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask! Overall, overcrowding, rude staff, rude passengers, rubbish food and dire entertainment made for a very, very disappointing and frustrating holiday. We will never, ever travel with NCL again and I implore anyone considering doing so to think again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This cruise was Western Europe cruise from Southampton down to the highlight of the trip Lisbon, Portugal on leaving Southampton on 20th May 2006. Booked this trip 3 months before departure as it seemed a good itinerary and wanted to try ... Read More
This cruise was Western Europe cruise from Southampton down to the highlight of the trip Lisbon, Portugal on leaving Southampton on 20th May 2006. Booked this trip 3 months before departure as it seemed a good itinerary and wanted to try a bigger cruise ship. Having done 2 Mediterranean cruises on Thomson Sprit 2005 and the old Thomson Topaz 2000, this has now retired. These were small ships 33,000 tones and 1200 passengers max. This was our first RCI cruise. Both times these cruises were amongst the best holiday I have had to date. Travelled on British Airways from Glasgow to London Heathrow and then via Royal Caribbean coach transfer to the Southampton docks which both were as good as can be expected. Transfer to the ship I thought was going to be a long experience having read some pervious reviews of RCI dock transfers. Arrived at 2.00pm and was in the room by 2.15pm having completed the sea pass check in on line. Arriving on the ship there was no one to direct you to your room or even ask, having been taken to the room on the 2 previous cruises. We booked and upgraded to a Junior suite which was quite small on this ship and looked a bit dated, but was OK. Cabin Steward was very nice and always helpful. We only paid and extra £115 UK pounds, each for the upgrade and would have been disappointed if I had paid any more. Went to the Windjammer for some lunch, the food was typical hotel buffet style, lots of choice but never really impressed. The cooked breakfast was not good especially the bacon. Had a couple of room service breakfasts which were much better. Started to explore the ship which seem a nice ship although it does need updating especially some of the chairs the lounges. I did feel sorry for the duo who were playing at the outside pool in big jackets because it was very windy and cold. We left port on schedule at 5.00pm and the captain came on the intercom welcoming us on board saying that the weather in the English Channel could be a bit rough but it takes quite a lot to through about a large ship like this. Our cruise was to take us to Day 1 St Peter port, Guernsey, Day 2 La Rochelle, France, Day 3 at sea, Day 4 Lisbon, Portugal, Day 5 Vigo, Spain, Day 6 at sea and Day 7 Back at Southampton. Arriving at St Peter port Guernsey at 7.00am we did not stop just kept going sea was quite rough and was going to get worse. As we were tendering that day we would not have been able to get back on the ship according to the Captain who eventually came on the intercom informing us of this fact at 8.00am, which as we kept on going, we already had guessed and Guernsey was now in the distance. So he was going onto La Rochelle, in France. I dont know if this captain just could not read weather charts or just was mad but he took us into a force 12 storm and later that week at the friendship parade made a joke about bringing us through the storm which did not please me and many of other passengers. Needless to say we did not stop at La Rochelle either, eventually stopping after 3 days 3 hours of cruising in Vigo, Spain, which was mostly very rough. A window got blown in on the second or third day of sailing on deck 3 at 5am during the worst of the storm. The Doctor was very popular on this trip. Never had any problem with rough seas before but 3 days of nearly constant rough seas took its toll on lots of the passengers. We stayed in Vigo from 8pm till 6pm the next night having to miss out on Lisbon due to having to go slow because of the weather. The Captain in my opinion should not have left Southampton if he knew the weather was going to be so bad and should have taken a different route like the 2 other cruise ships that left Southampton at the same time the Sea Princess and the Oriana did. We eventually made it back to St. Peter port on Friday but the tender transfer was very rough. Sea Princess was also there on the Friday. Entertainment on the ship was extremely poor at night was OK but nothing extra was organised by Gordon the cruise director who I got the impression could not be bothered. Even went to the art auction just to do something as we were so bored and this was a day that we should have been at sea. Everyone that I spoke to said that this was not a typical RCI cruise as there was just NOTHING to do during the day, no themed nights in the dining room, the waiters sung twice but that was it. I have to say that the staff were first class always happy to help especially Joe our dining room waiter and Leabert on the Viking crown lounge (freak boy, you will know if you have met him) In all it was a very bad cruise experience as the Captain admitted but was made worse by the lack of day time activities. We were offered a 50% future cruise credit on what we had paid for the cruise portion of this cruise, but lots of passengers did not want to sail with them again. We did get a refund of the shore excursions we had booked and we never got to the destinations. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Never Again ! There are I think 2 types of people in the world. There are the "I'll try anything once" types and there are the "I'm happy with what I know and love types". For P&O cruisers the dilemma ... Read More
Never Again ! There are I think 2 types of people in the world. There are the "I'll try anything once" types and there are the "I'm happy with what I know and love types". For P&O cruisers the dilemma facing most of us is "shall I try out the newest ship in the fleet?". Sadly I fell for this psychological trap and booked a short mid-year 7 day break on Arcadia. It will never happen again! There are plenty of reviews that will inform you of the practical design differences to the other ships and they are pretty much accurate. Design is poor, period. Main restaurant is right at the aft so those with a tendency for seasickness will be at maximum discomfort during the most important eating time. Layout elsewhere is confusing and it's hard to get anywhere in a straight line on one deck. Bars, lounges and cafes all have main walkways through them so are not at all nice places to chill out, relax and say read a book. As I said, plenty of other reviews around on those differences. The main problem you need to be aware of when being tempted by that "shall I, shan't I" dilemma is that Arcadia, being an adult only ship, is in fact packed full of geriatrics. They fall out of every room, bar and lounge and spend their cruise lolling asleep in chairs with their mouths open. Arcadia is an old folks home at sea. Now, I'm not ageist in any shape or form, but given a choice, I would not knowingly choose to spend a holiday as important as a cruise with 1500 pensioners all waiting to spend their final days in the best way possible. It's truly awful. I'm just over 40 myself and although we had excellent table companions who were full of character, this didn't make up for the overall atmosphere on board. If you are intent on doing the "Arcadia" thing, then you need to be prepared for the practical realities that you will be faced with. In general these worldly wise veterans spend their days getting up well before everyone else at about 5-6am. Their purpose and motivation in life is to get to places first, before everyone else, to get that all important seat. First sign of this was the muster drill. I left for the drill 5 mins early just to avoid the busy corridor rush that normally happens. What greeted me at the muster station was a sea of elderly people who had clearly already bagseyed their chairs and settled in, probably an hour before! Everyone else was stood in the corridors for the 45min drill. I'm not discourteous mind, but I always felt the heart and soul of any cruise was consideration for fellow passengers, queuing patiently, tolerating and so on. Old people show very little of this, it's dog eat dog and boy, they're going to get up as early as it takes to get there before you. And once there, they ain't gonna move any time soon. They're going to sit quietly ordering coffee after coffee to justify their continued presence in those seats like the people who used to make a cup of tea last 3 hours in a Little Chef restaurant. It's an ethos they have for the duration of the cruise. As with any cruise, we had some days at sea and some of these were in bad weather so everyone was looking for things to do and places to go inside the ship. Could we find even one empty armchair in one bar or lounge or cafe to get a coffee? Not a chance! Every single seat was packed out with geriatrics who for all I know had been sitting there from 3 o'clock in the morning just to make sure they got that seat. And many of them were just lolling there asleep. It makes for a truly horrible atmosphere I'm afraid and is very frustrating. I walked the length of the ship 3 times on different decks looking for somewhere to have a coffee. Took me 40 mins to find a dark unrelaxing corner. To further perpetuate the old folks home experience P&O ensured that all the activities were in tune. So during the day expect workshop sessions telling you how to grow Clematis or how to cultivate cuttings ! Computer lessons for the completely technophobic and so on. No doubt I have now offended every mature cruiser that reads this review and I apologise for that, however, I want people to go into an Arcadia cruise with an informed decision. Had I known beforehand I would not have spent those precious holiday days and all that money on a "let's see what Arcadia is like" venture. I would have stuck with the ships that I know and love. Carnival/P&O need to understand pretty quickly that Arcadia looks to have quickly become an old folks home. No doubt there is a great market for that and I wish the best of luck to P&O and to all the older people sailing with Arcadia. However, be mindful of the fact that there are hundreds of other cruisers being slowly alienated, who might otherwise expect a "normal" cruising experience. One where there are seats available and where occupied seats are buzzing with life and banter and atmosphere. We all have choices. It looks like the Arcadia is the place for the elderly. That's just fine. I wrote this review just to ensure everyone else is suitably informed before they book their first time Arcadian experience in the hope of something new, different and exciting. For me it wasn't any of those things. Personally, I will never sail with her again. The design, the ethos and the atmosphere on-board are just not to my taste. I love the formality of the other ships and the courtesy and liveliness on-board. Everyone is different, you must make your own choice, but at least be informed and prepared. The scores I have recorded reflect the normal aspects of those services but all are tainted and spoiled by the wider problem. Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Jewels of Iberia,5/24-6-4. Concensus of opinion 40 people spoken with. None of us will book ship again. Service level poor, incompetent, inefficient, untrained, rude and insulting. Plates of food removed before diners are finished. Asked ... Read More
Jewels of Iberia,5/24-6-4. Concensus of opinion 40 people spoken with. None of us will book ship again. Service level poor, incompetent, inefficient, untrained, rude and insulting. Plates of food removed before diners are finished. Asked for beet salad, received mixed greens,told waiter I had ordered beets, asked me "are you sure?" King's Court restaurants fine except for the fact that menu never changes. Prime raw materials (food). Cabin layout/decor adequate. Steward kept clean but did not understand English. Wrote notes to supervisor. Amenities were not replaced after first day. Wrote note, received note in return saying if wished bath gel replaced would have to return empty bottle. Had to request the return of a bath mat. Did not appear until requested. Cruise line shore excursions--since we had never visited Spain & Portugal, opted for city tours. These were very short, made no provisions for photo ops in most cases and generally had guides with inadequate English. Cruise line entertainment--Royal Court Theatre badly designed, seats not raked or staggered, balcony seating obstructed. Dancers and choreography superb. Other entertainment worst we've seen. Irons in the 5th deck launderette filthy, bottoms never cleaned. Computers on board very slow, racking up minutes to the ship's advantage. Faxes slow. Were charged for 4 when only 2 were sent. No clock anywhere in cabin. 9:30am,Tues. June 2, toilet did not flush. At l0:00pm announcement that vacuum system needed to be fixed. June l-balcony flooded with 3" of water, never receded. Reported, never fixed. May 28 Did not get to the Costa Nord Foundation or to see the Michael Douglas film as promised in the tour brochure. There was a very find Chopin piano recital in the monastary. Tried to register for tours on TV as suggested. Did manage to register for lst city on itinerary but there were so many glitches and it took so long, became annoyed and went to tour desk to talk to human being. Were not able to visit Gibraltar as promised on May 27 tho the Caronia visited on May 26. Reason given that there was a quarrel between the Spanish and the Brits and the Spanish would not allow the ship to visit other Spanish ports if it stopped at Gibraltar The halogen lights over the pictures on the fore and aft walls went out and no one fixed them Husband jiggled with them, relit and discovered they were cheap fixtures. Tea and Coffee are part of the meals in the Royal Court restaurants and the Britannia; must be paid for in the Golden Lion Pub. Why? There were two announcements of technical difficulties involving (I surmise) the engines; nothing was ever said as to the cause. Once in the middle of the trip when backing away from a dock and continuing the ship moved very slowly for at least an hour. The second announcement came on June 3 when we were several hundred miles outside the port. The engines slowed and we did not dock till 9:00am which was the time some of the tours were supposed to start. I would think this type of problem would not occur on a ship's fourth voyage since it is to be supposed new engines would not break down. The following is a small but annoying caveat. The brochure indicated a Royal Ascot Ball. About l0 to l5 women including myself and a friend brought our own. Were thoroughly disappointed to discover they meant us to make parodies. The hats that won were one that was made to look like a table covered with a cloth on which was a plate, a glass and an intricately folded napkin. The other was a crown made of the ship's swizzle sticks and tin foil. We all felt it should have been stated that parodies were required. For one thing there would have been more room in our suitcases. We were not able to visit Cadiz as promised. A choice was given of visiting Civitevecchia, Rome or Ostia Antica. We opted for Ostia Antica because we knew 5 hours in Rome would not be enough. When we got the tour program on the ship, Ostia Antica wasn't even mentioned and no one seemed to know anything about it or why it wasn't there. Had to open the cabin door to hear the general announcements from the bridge. Once, during the voyage, heard them in the cabin without opening the door. Is there a PA system in all the cabins? Were told we would receive written disembarkation announcements in our cabins. Never did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004

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