Royal Princess Cruise Review by 1oklahoma1
- Sail Date: August 2015
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
- Cabin Type: Balcony
The embarkation was the worst. We arrived at Heathrow about 7 a.m. and made it through customs and to Southampton with no problem. When we arrived, we were told that due to a norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise boarding would be delayed. We were shipped to a nearby mall with not much information but with a number for return. We stayed there for a while then went outside to see what the lines looked like. Buses were taking the crew back, but we had to wait 5 hours or so. We finally were able to get in line about 2:00 and waited for a bus till 3:00. There were buses of fellow travelers arriving at the mall as we left. Long, long lines of people waiting for their number to come up to get a bus to the terminal. We were in line outside of the port until 3:00. It was warm but not too bad for those of us without disabilities or breathing issues. I felt sorry for those whose health posed as issue. Some were let inside. Also let inside were travelers just arriving by cab. That didn't sit well with those of us standing outside and who had been waiting for several hours to get in.
Finally, about 4:00 we made it to the line for check-in. Tempers were short for passengers and workers. There were some visa issues with some passengers and some computer issues. Rather than turning over those passengers with visa problems to someone to handle the issues, we all had to stand in line and just hope it was resolved quickly. Most weren't. I have never seen the pushing to check in that I saw there. Some workers were down right rude. Finally, by 5:30 we were on board. The ship did not leave until 8:30 or so.
We all thought that Princess would provide a free drink or a slight credit for all the problems, but that didn't happen.
The captain never once seemed happy about the trip any time he talked to us. I know it is his responsibility to keep us all safe, but you could tell he was feeling the responsibility heavily. For 12 days, he just gave us the bad news that there was still some problem on the ship with the virus. There was another sanitization after 5 days. We were kindly asked to wash and sanitize before entering the buffet, but some rude passengers refused leaving the rest of us who complied to wonder if they were spreading germs.
The rooms are fairly large which we liked, and there is lots of hanging space in the closets, but there is no drawer space. We just had shelves in the closet. The piazza space in the middle of the ship makes it difficult to get places in a timely manner. You have to go from 5 up to 7 and across or vice versa. TV shows consisted of unlimited old Love Boat reruns an a few movies and Animal Planet and several news channels.
The house band, while good, played so loudly over the singers in the shows and in the piazza that it was almost impossible to hear the singer. Music still seemed to be geared for the most part to those over 70. It would be nice to hear some newer pop music in the shows and elsewhere. The stage shows were definitely not so great.
There didn't seem to be much to do on board if you didn't go on an excursion. Luckily the cruise was port intensive. The art auctions were fun and well managed. Bingo was just one day. The food was ok in the dining room and buffet. I do like their burgers and pizza. One night there was a pig head on the buffet. That ruined my dinner.
Be advised that to do the ports and to get back on ship some days you need to be able to walk a good deal. For many of the ports if you are just going into town, a fair distance of walking is required. And the gang planks had more angle on them than I've seen before. Thank goodness for the Princess staff--they handled those wheel chairs and those with limited mobility beautifully up the gang plank that once or twice had a 45 degree angle.
Disembarkation was quick and easy. We shared a shuttle (really a smallish car) back to London. It was inexpensive and fun to hear from two other couples about their view of the trip.
The weather was gorgeous; the ports were interesting and beautiful; the fellow passengers were interesting and fun. I just wish the captain had had a better time.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Antrim Coast Walking TourThe Antrim area is beautiful--land and sea. It is a fairly long drive but with a stop for tea and scones. We were seated next to a British couple who helped me with the correct procedure for fixing the tea and eating the scones. There was time to walk around and take pictures.View All 4 Antrim Coast Walking Tour Reviews
There was a free ship shuttle to Belfast city center. We walked around and visited a pub. Just around the corner from the shuttle stop was a great souvenir shop--not tacky at all. There was a large selection of many items. Start back early--there are lots of people returning to the ship.
Cobh (Cork)If you have an independent tour, go outside the gates and turn right to those buses. ECoach was a superior tour operator. It was very well done and very informative. I'm not sure how he managed that big bus around those small streets, but he was jovial the whole time. He did leave exactly on time so that we arrived at Blarney Castle early. He was cognizant of our time constraints. At Blarney Castle, you must have a ticket to even get on the grounds--purchase on line before you go. We walked the grounds but did not go up in the castle. The lines got long quickly. The Woolen Mills were so great; so much to see and BUY! From where tour buses let you off, it's 1/4 to 1/3 mile to walk and not necessarily ADA accessible.View All 372 Cobh (Cork) Cruise Port Reviews
At Kinsale, we got fish and chips at Dino's. It's takeaway but very good. There are not many restrooms available around town. Some cost.
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Royal Yacht BritanniaThere is nothing at the pier but two small souvenir shops. Queensferry is a 15-30 minute walk or there are a few taxis available. Edinburgh is a big city, an old city with much flavor as you walk around. There seems to be almost too much to see even on a bus. The Britannia tour is self paced with audio. It is interesting to see how the royalty travelled. To get to the yacht, you enter a mall and go up to flights of escalators.View All 13,770 Royal Yacht Britannia Reviews
Greenock (Glasgow)Greenock is right at the port but requires some walking to the shopping center about two blocks away and five blocks or so to the shopping mall. The mall was very interesting to see a grocery story, Pound World, and the people. The port has some vendors with souvenirs, cookies, T shirts, etc. It is an hour by shuttle to Glasgow. Taxis were ready and waiting.View All 233 Greenock (Glasgow) Cruise Port Reviews
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Highland Day TourThe tour of Dornock and the Highlands was gorgeous. The weather was perfect. Dornock is a quaint, lovely town with flowers all around. The Falls of Shin requires a long walk down and back up.View All 58 Highland Day Tour Reviews
D-Day BeachesThis is an excursion that everyone should see to try to experience what it must have been like for all those men (US military as well as other countries' soldiers) who took part in this great battle. We went to three beaches. The whole tour is about 10 hours with lots of driving to the beaches and between. We had a lovely lunch at a country club. The museum and American cemetery are mesmerizing. I came away realizing that the US didn't do it alone; there were many other countries involved. The people on the tour were from other countries and asked about their soldiers' involvement. It's a long day but well worth the cost and time. You realize how much those soldiers gave for the world's freedom. We did not stop but did see some towns that seem still to be stuck in time. The houses are so interesting to look at as you drive through the small villages.View All 69 D-Day Beaches Reviews
LiverpoolThe port is flat but it's about 1/2 mile to shopping. The ship did dock at city center, but it's still a long walk for some and a 10-15 minute walk to the Beatles Museum, Maritime Museum, churches and other museums. I did not see many taxis. The HOHO bus tour was 6 pounds and narrated. But the bus was way too crowded and people were allowed to stand up if there were no seats therefore blocking the view for those of us who were sitting. Liverpool is a very clean town and very friendly. The self tour of town was fine.View All 116 Liverpool Cruise Port Reviews
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German Occupation MuseumWe walked about 10 min to the taxi stand and waited about 15 minutes for the taxi. The driver was very helpful and took us straight to the German Museum. He also told us about the history of the island. The museum was very interesting--small but well done. Most stores were closed on Sunday, but there was a street fair going on.View All 14 German Occupation Museum Reviews