Our family of three mostly enjoyed our British Isles cruise out of Southampton. We had cruised with Princess 5 years ago on a land/sea adventure to Alaska which was outstanding so we chose Princess again based mostly on this itinerary.
We flew from the US to London 3 days early so we could get over our jet lag and see some of the sights of London prior to the cruise.
Our balcony cabin was fine. Our steward made up the bunk for our 12-year-old daughter every evening which worked great for her. The beds were amazingly comfortable! We loved having a balcony to see the passing scenery and the ports. I can't imagine not having a balcony cabin for this itinerary as there is so much beautiful scenery throughout the cruise. Our cabin was maintained very well by our steward. The TV froze a few times but once we figured out that unplugging and plugging it back in resolved the issue, it was fine.
We learned on our last cruise that scheduling our own excursions is much less expensive and a much better experience than purchasing excursions through Princess. I scheduled private or small group tours at every port and saved a fortune over what Princess charged. Most of the tour companies guarantee on-time return to the ship and we have never had any issues with timing. Two members of our extended family did purchase an excursion through Princess in Dublin to Powerscourt and said the entire experience paled in comparison to our private tours throughout the rest of the cruise.
We thought the food on the cruise was good. We ate breakfast at the Horizon buffet every day and the taste, variety and quality were all very good. We ate most of our lunches off the ship as most days we were at port. For dinner we ate at Michelangelo and loved our table the first night so we continued to request the same table. Our servers, Pong and Sunshine, were outstanding and we enjoyed the more relaxed pace of the dining room after a full day of touring. We also enjoyed the gelato at the international café and coffee every morning at Coffee and Cones.
We thought the entertainment was very poor. Our last cruise was on Holland America and we thought the entertainment on that cruise was extremely good. During this cruise we found it difficult to find something interesting to see or do most evenings. We did enjoy the karaoke and Voice of the Ocean competition but most of the other entertainment at the theater was not very enjoyable. We did seek out Jezebel which was an Irish duo and enjoyed their music. One great experience was the finals of Wimbledon being shown on the Movies under the Stars screen. The servers were passing out popcorn and it was a very lively crowd since we had just left Southampton/London 2 days before.
Some of the other reviews mention the ship as showing its age but we didn't notice that. The common areas and our cabin all appeared to be in good condition.
Our 12-year-old daughter attended the kids' club at the start of the cruise but once she made a group of friends, they tended to hang out by the pool or go eat together rather than go to the club. She did enjoy the kids club the times she attended and it appeared to be very well run. I see that some people are complaining about the tracking aspect of the medallions but it made it very easy to find our daughter on the ship and we were thankful for that ability.
Embarkation and disembarkation were both fine. We chose to disembark on our own which comes with the bonus that we could keep our luggage in our room the last night. We scheduled our own transport to and from the ship which was half the cost of the Princess transfer.
All in all we did enjoy the cruise but I'm not sure I would choose Princess again after an all-around better experience on Holland-America.
We booked a private walking tour with Tours of Guernsey and I cannot recommend them enough. Anne met us at the dock and gave us an amazing tour of St. Peter Port and Castle Cornet. And you must get some delicious Guernsey ice cream while in port.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We booked a small van tour of Blarney & Kinsale with eCoach tours and had a great day. Ian was our guide and was delightful. I would highly recommend this tour company.
We took a 3 hour walking tour with Yellow Umbrella Tours in the afternoon and a pub tour with them in the evening. Both were very enjoyable and informative. We did discover that taking a taxi from the ship into Dublin was less expensive and much quicker than taking the ship-provided shuttle. Princess makes it seem like the shuttle is your only option but it isn't. The first day the taxis did take a bit longer as there was a line of people disembarking that day. The second day it was very easy to get a taxi.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We booked Belfast NI for a private Game of Thrones Tour. Murat was an amazing tour guide and we all thought that he provided the best tour of our entire cruise. My husband and I are GOT fans but my parents and daughter did not watch the series and enjoyed the day as much as we did. Murat provided snacks, water, and even bought my daughter ice cream at one of our stops.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We booked a 5-hour private walking tour with Glasgow Private Tours. The tour company also arranged our transportation to/from the ship as it is about 45 minutes to Glasgow. We had a great day and found Elsa, our tour guide, to be very knowledgeable and a terrific guide.
We booked a private Outlander tour with Inverness Tours. Our guide, Laura Moon, picked us up at the port and was a great guide. She offered several suggestions to change our itinerary throughout the day based on our interests as she got to know us better. The tour was outstanding.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We booked a 2-hour free walking tour of Edinburgh with LIttle Fish Tours. Luca was our guide. It was the perfect introduction to Edinburgh. Luca is the owner so we felt lucky that we were able to tour with him as he is so passionate about the city.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We booked a private tour with Overlord Tours and I cannot recommend them enough. Pierre was our guide and was the most knowledgeable tour guide I have ever encountered. One of our family member's father came in at Omaha Beach on D-day and once Pierre learned of that, he went out of his way to give us detailed, pertinent knowledge about our friend's father's corps and boat. In addition, we were able to go to several placed that a big bus tour could not have gone due to narrow, winding roads. It was a very emotional day and I'm sure our friend will always remember it.View All undefined undefined Reviews