This was booked late at a reduced price as the timing, Southampton departure and ports not previously visited suited us.
We have previously cruised about 12 times, twice before with Princess so felt confident about the cruise. However, several aspects fell below expectations.
I was unsure whether to give a 2star(poor) rating or a 3star(average) rating. Went for the 3 as I want to remember the good things.
We had a mid ship balcony cabin. Good location. Bed and linen good. The bathroom needs refurbished, marked tiles and mirror and as another review mentioned yes, the toilet seat needs replaced. Had to ask our cabin steward to clean inside the drawers, they had hairs and some pieces of paper inside. Had to ask for a plastic shower hat and a replacement for the one small tube of body lotion provided after it was finished. Bathrobes not provided though I understand they could be requested. As usual we liked the generous wardrobe space but missed the settee which Celebrity has in a balcony cabin.
We had anytime dining but were not permitted to prebook a time in advance though we had been told we would be able to. However, we never had to wait long.
We tried the buffet breakfast and were not enthusiastic about it so mostly had the MDR breakfasts; not great there either. Omelettes paper thin, cheap bread toasted very hard, poor quality marmalade and jam spooned onto the plate by a waiter, fatty undercooked British bacon, the Canadian bacon seemed to be a very salty reconstituted product, watery orange juice. The breakfast waiters were pleasant but service very slow........but we were on holiday so no hurry.
We are not big lunch eaters but found the buffet satisfactory for a small lunch for my husband.
I preferred to have an indulgent sweet treat from International cafe. Biggest problem there was getting a seat.
We once had a pizza slice from the pizzeria and it was very good.
Dinners variable. Some of the waiters were downright surly, a few were cheerful. The pot pie in the MDR was just that, mostly pot and pie with a little meat and a big space between meat and pastry. Meals varied in temperature. Soups were not good, they were very salty.The main dishes seemed rather uninspired but we realise that they can only be as good as the products used. The desserts were good.
Overall we felt that significant economies have been made with the food since we were last with Princess and the chefs cannot transform poor ingredients.
We had to insist that we did not want our after dinner coffee till after all the meal and not before dessert.
The pastry chefs were very good.
Entertainment: We did not find the theatre entertainment to be good . Cruise director never seen by us around the ship.
There seemed to be a frequent number of quizzes around the ship during the sea days and it was usually not possible to get a quiet area.
We realise that because the weather was not really warm enough for outdoor sitting this contributed to causing the ship to feel crowded and noisy. Still, that will have avoided the towels on sunbeds issues.
In general the service was variable and not as good as before. We fully paid our gratuities as we did not want the unseen people as well as the ones who gave us good and cheerful service to miss out.
La Coruna. We had the Princess transfer to Santiago de Compostela $50 each.
Unfortunately it rained and was not warm that day but worth seeing the lovely old city centre.
Bilbao. Shuttle provided. Really enjoyed it here, We went to the Guggenheim and spent the rest of the time walking around Bilbao.
Le Verdon. We did not want a 2 hours each way bus ride to Bordeaux so opted for the shuttle to Soulac sur Mer, a little seaside resort with tourist trinket shops. Fortunately a warm sunny day . There would be nothing to do on a wet day.
The shuttle was a fiasco.Waited nearly an hour for our turn as we had done as requested ; all our party to go together to the dining room to get a numbered ticket. The man in front of our group of 4 wanted 6 tickets, the crew member asked him if all were together as requested, he said no, the crew member gave him the tickets anyway. After waiting an hour in the dining room our number was called. And then the crew were letting people on to the shuttle bus who had not bothered to get a ticket at all! I don't know how anyone could have misunderstood the instructions as they were repeated frequently.
Guernsey. A tender port. We got the local bus to Sausmarez Manor, enjoyed the beautiful garden and walked back to St. Peter Port on the cliff path, about 3 miles.A scenic walk and then explored the town.
Overall our view is that this fell far short of the Princess we had experienced before.
Unfortunately we are unsure if we will go with them again.
We usually book well ahead to get the cabin we want so would be very unhappy to pay a full price for this standard of cruise.
Booked with Celebrity for October.
Enjoyed Santiago de Compostela as above
Not really a worthwhile port as it is so far from Bordeaux
Very easy to get around on your own.