Decided to try RC after finding P&O standards had dropped over the last three cruises taken. Embarkation in Southampton with RC was very slow with long queues, some previous passengers saying they had never experienced this before.
Although the cabin was clean and the cabin steward excellent, the balcony furniture was dated. Shower had a door, rather than a curtain as on P&O which was an improvement.
The food was also slightly better than P&O with more variety, particularly in the Windjammer buffet. Paid supplement to eat in Johnny Rockets but was very disappointed with the meal and the whole experience. Dress codes on the formal nights are also just a 'suggestion' by RC so very disappointed that unlike P&O these are not enforced with men being allowed in polo shirts, without jackets, in the main dining room on formal evenings.
Took out the all inclusive drinks package and made great savings, with the average drink costing $14 plus 18% service charge. The daily cocktail was $9.50 plus service charge. In comparison P&O drinks prices are slightly higher than pub prices.
The crew on board were excellent throughout the ship and cannot be given enough praise. Nothing was too much trouble for any of them.
Far too many rampaging, unsupervised under-12 year olds on the ship, more to do with the parents than RC.
Lack of sunbeds on sea days as too many passengers placing towels on sunbeds at 7am in the morning and not returning until 11am despite notices placed around the ship. After a few days did notice crew members removing towels.
Fellow passengers not adhering to the hygiene notices around the ship. Despite a sign setting out the rules of the swimming pool that young children wearing diapers were not allowed in the pool, we saw one mother flouting this rule and on some occasions there were no staff enforcing the pool rules.
Apart from the Ice Show which was very good, the entertainment in the bars was very poor and P&O definitely do better in this category. Difficulty getting a seat in the Two Poets pub and small bars in the evening but an abundance of seats available in the Star Lounge where the live group were playing. Did not attend any of the Headliner shows.
Did not undertake any RC shore excursions because too expensive but the ports of call were good. However, felt very rushed in a couple of ports, especially Ajaccio as arrived at 7am (when most people are asleep) and had to be back on board by 2.30pm.
Would not cruise with RC again. Will try Princess or Celebrity next time from Southampton or a fly-cruise with another line. Having spent around £180 per person per day, one would have expected a far better experience.
Balcony room was slightly bigger than P&O rooms and included a sofa. Shower door improvement on shower curtain on P&O. No fridge provided in the room. Balcony furniture very dated. Cabin steward excellent.