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104 Holiday Cruise Reviews

I'll preface all this by saying I didn't particularly want to take this cruise. Christmas away from home sounds (and is) depressing. But the in-laws wanted to take the cruise. They're both walker-bound and it was their ... Read More
I'll preface all this by saying I didn't particularly want to take this cruise. Christmas away from home sounds (and is) depressing. But the in-laws wanted to take the cruise. They're both walker-bound and it was their 50th anniversary, so I had to take one for the team. I tried, honestly, to keep a positive outlook. I kept hearing I'd be treated like royalty and all about how magnificent the food would be. So honestly, by the time we arrived to board, I was optimistic in my expectations. I was amazed at how creatively Royal Caribbean turned it all into a disaster. It was like they were inspired to wreck the vacation. I'll never sail with them again, and I would suggest that nobody sails with them. The ship itself should be seized by the Coast Guard, towed offshore, and sunk by naval torpedo fire. We got there to a confused train-wreck of people who were denied clear communication by the agents at the terminal. Arriving at 12:40 PM, we were told by the porter that things were "slow" that day and we may as well go have coffee and come back "in a couple hours." So we rode over to a McDonald's and had lunch, and waited the time with patience. We got back to the terminal to find no progress, only a bunch of buses and nobody telling us doodly squat about what was going on, but we were told there had been a contagion on the ship and the delay was because the ship was being disinfected. Yeah, right. I got four different stories from three different agents before someone finally told us "they're doing everything at the convention center." Well, if I'd known that I would've simply ridden over to the convention center. For Pete's sake, the McD's where we had lunch wasn't but a mile from the San Luis where they were doing all this! But anyhow, we had a very difficult time getting mom-in-law onto a bus (she's got terribly arthritic knees) and then rode to the convention center to find nothing short of pandemonium, and nothing better to eat than SACK LUNCHES. That should have been a huge warning flag to just go home and forget this debacle, but by this point we were all in. We got registered easily enough and choked down the awful sack lunch sandwiches while again we waited until my patience ran out and I found another agent (they seemed none too bright or interested in being helpful) and got my in-laws to the bus. But mom-in-law wasn't able to board the bus to head back to the terminal. Her knees were shot by this point. They wanted to call a taxi, but were told no they could not do that. Finally they told my wife and me to take our son and head on over to the terminal and they'd get there somehow. By this point, it was late and our son (who is only 2 years old) hadn't had a nap all day and was cranky. Mind you, this was about 7pm and we were supposed to have been boarded six hours prior. So we got on the boat. It was our scheduled dinner time, but they decided to have a drill instead of feeding us. After an injury sustained in 2007, I get around on a cane and had been too long on my feet, and collapsed to the deck during the fire drill. In any event, they decided then to feed supper to people but my wife and I were so disgusted by then that we simply repaired to our cabin with me muttering "never again" and far other more dire imprecations. And so ended Day One, debarking at about 8:30 pm to begin the cruise. Breakfast and lunch were uninspired, and I learned at breakfast that they were always looking to gouge an extra buck from us however they could when I was greeted by a man running an orange-squeezer, who asked if I wanted fresh orange juice. Silly me, I asked for three, one for me, one for my wife, and the third for our son. They delivered them to our table and I was pinged for thirteen dollars, I think it was. In any event, the breakfast was little better than I could have gotten at any IHOP ashore. We ate lunch once at Windjammer, which was, kindly, uninspired. The lunches available at Rhapsody in Blue were better, but again, nothing to make me write home. Bleh. The suppers, I have to say, were magnificent, one and all. Now, before you all go thinking I'm just a negative person here, I've got to say that the lady we saw at our breakfasts, "Eliana," was really sweet and friendly, and our waiter at supper, "Reynaldo," was tremendous, as was his assistant, "Maamar." They all really seemed to love our kid and were the soul of courtesy and brilliant service, and we offered gratuities accordingly. But at the end of the day, only one of the three meals offered was really amazing to me. There were a couple times I was tempted to go to Johnny Rocket's, but after paying this much money to be on this boat, I was really peeved at paying even more to get a burger and a malt, and so I never darkened that door, nor any other "pay to eat" place on the boat. As an aside, this ship was rife with children and toddlers, and the kids' menu at supper time seemed only to have chicken tenders or macaroni. Surely this four-star dining room could have done better than that, yes? By the second day, the norovirus panic was out again in full force, but none of us grew ill. Later, we would talk with a young man whose tale horrified us. He was sharing a cabin with his grandmother, who was subsequently diagnosed with the virus. They quarantined her to her room and evicted the young fellow, offering him no accommodations for two nights. I decided then and there that if I grew ill with anything less than Ebola, there was no way in the world I'd go to the medical spaces about it. My heart went out to this guy whose Christmas cruise was ruined by the high-handed behavior of Royal Caribbean. Mind you, many ships docked at these ports, and I had opportunity to talk with passengers from the other ships. NONE of them reported norovirus issues, not even Carnival's Magic, which shares a terminal with Mariner of the Seas. This tells me the ship is the problem, despite "Captain Per" insisting incessantly that the passengers were to blame. But if we all come from the same population pool, why was only one ship infested, hmmm? By then I doubted (and still doubt) that they did much of a job disinfecting this ship, and I think I'd have been happier riding a rowboat to these destinations. My in-laws were remarking often about how much better they'd been treated on Holland America on their several cruises with that line. By then, I'd decided I'd never again sail with Royal Caribbean. But the hits just keeeeeeep on comin', you know. Another thing that had begun to irk me was the closed-circuit TV, much of which seemed to be indoctrination and brainwashing about how lucky we were to be cruising with Royal Caribbean. One commercial that notably irked me was one about "Freedom of the Seas." A hot blonde in a green bikini told us just about hourly about some surfing ride on that ship that was one of a kind and the best of the best. I started seeing the subtext as "Don't you see what a great time you'd be having on a ship that doesn't utterly suck?" The details are immaterial, and I think I've given you enough of a sampling of it that you get the picture. We docked back at Galveston again but RCI was far from done mistreating us. Not by a longshot. We waited patiently and forever in the Bolero Lounge for them to bring wheel chairs for my in-laws to debark the boat. As best I could tell they were the very last ones to be afforded wheelchairs. Once in the terminal, instead of letting them keep the wheelchairs, my in-laws were unceremoniously deposited into a pair of folding chairs to wait for a porter to come after our luggage. I find it sad that the most courteous people we found that day were our porter and Officer Kubiak at Customs. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean lost one piece of our luggage. It was nowhere to be found when my wife went with the porter to round up our items. So the next day, I get a call from them saying they had a piece of our luggage. Now, I've had airplanes misplace luggage before and when it happens, they deliver it to my door at no charge. Even the most ghetto airlines like Delta provide that amenity when they screw up. Royal Caribbean, not so! Oh no, I was told my choices were either (A) come get it between the hours of 0900 and 1200 at a travel agent in Texas City, or (B) give them a credit-card number to pay for delivery to my door! "Royal" indeed! Yeah, I was royally Pee Ohed, and royally screwed by these clowns. Frankly, if you read this review and then choose to sail with these clowns, you are a masochist. For me, never again. It'll be snowing in hell a hundred years before I ever again board a Royal Caribbean boat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We had the most horrible travel experience of our lives on the Avalon Panorama Christmas cruise in December of 2011. From beginning to end, this trip was a nightmare. Avalon began by making a mess of our airline reservations. Had to pay ... Read More
We had the most horrible travel experience of our lives on the Avalon Panorama Christmas cruise in December of 2011. From beginning to end, this trip was a nightmare. Avalon began by making a mess of our airline reservations. Had to pay a penalty to cancel their airline reservations and make our own. When we finally got aboard the Panorama in Nuremberg, we were herded like cattle into the main room where we had to wait interminably to be assigned our rooms. This was after a very tiring bus ride from Prague to Nuremberg. When we were finally settled in our cabin, we found that the elevator didn't work on the ship, and we are both senior citizens and found it very difficult to get around on the ship because of this. We were promised ethnic food aboard and that never materialized. The food service was like a cattle call. It was impossible to order only one course and have it served in a timely way. After arriving at Regensburg, we were given a heads up that we might not be able to go down the river due to the water level. That is exactly what happened, and we were driven all over by bus and missed the ports we were promised and were at last driven to Bratislava, not on our itinerary, and not to Vienna where we were supposed to end our cruise. I had purchased several extra days in Vienna, and had also purchased tickets to the Spanish Riding School over 14 months before the tour. We had to leave the tour after being taken to Bratislava in order to be in Vienna for the performance we had so looked forward to. The tour director, Robert, refused to help us get an extra night in Vienna, so we had to telephone directly to the hotel and they extorted 259 euros for that extra night. Then they charged us an extra 100 euros to stay in the same room for the extra nights. Avalon knew in advance that we wouldn't be able to sail down the river. Other cruise lines informed their passengers before leaving their homes and gave them options. Avalon did not do this even though they knew we couldn't have the cruise we paid for. We had purchased travel insurance and could have recouped all of our money had we known in advance that we couldn't sail down the river. Avalon has refunded two days of our cruise, but that doesn't even begin to repay us for the terrible bus rides, loss of several ports we were promised, and their general uncaring about the passengers' needs. We spent most of the time on crowded buses and in my opinion were robbed of what was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime cruise. My warning to future river cruisers is to book with anyone but Avalon. Viking informed their passengers ahead of time and I was told that other cruise companies did the same. Avalon did not!!!! Also, don't bother with trip insurance. I bought expensive trip insurance and tried to collect for the extra costs in Vienna due to trip interruption, and have heard nothing from the trip insurers. I feel that we were treated unfairly by Avalon and they have been giving us the runaround since we got back about what they were going to do to rectify this situation. A group of passengers on this cruise have been emailing back and forth, and the general consensus is that Avalon owes us four days worth of repayment due to the lost portions of our trip. They have told us that they need four to six weeks to "investigate" this situation. Why? They know what happened. Also, I was informed that those of us who wrote letters to Globus and Avalon would be treated differently from the rest of the passengers. Is this fair? I don't think so. My advice to any would-be river cruiser is to AVOID AVALON LIKE THE PLAGUE! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My husband and I are seasoned cruises, however this was our first experience with Costa on the Costa Classica and it will definitely be our last. In comparison to other cruise lines this cruise did not measure up in terms of service, food ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned cruises, however this was our first experience with Costa on the Costa Classica and it will definitely be our last. In comparison to other cruise lines this cruise did not measure up in terms of service, food or the ship. The only redeeming element of the cruise was we visited some fantastic destinations. The ship: was really tired, out of date and definitely in need of refurbishment, our cabin like many others was in need of new decor and soft furnishings, however the size of the cabin was really good. Ship TV: was an absolute joke and this is being kind, there were 7 films available to watch which initially sounds a lot, but the problem was 1 film per day played on a loop all day, the films in week 1 were then repeated in the same way throughout week 2. I have never experienced this on any other cruise. The food: well again unlike any other cruise line we had during the first 2 days 3 dinning options available to us, the pre booked formal restaurant, the self service restaurant and a pizza place that was open from 9pm to 1am. However, after the first couple of days the self service option was closed on an evening leaving only the formal and pizza option available. The food in the formal dining room was appalling, every evening we had 5 courses consisting of a starter, soup, pasta, main, and sweet. Sounds good doesn't it? But it definitely wasn't, the food during week 1 was marginally better than week 2, but every soup we had tasted the same and really had no taste at all, pasta was hit and miss, and at times swimming in oil, this rendered it uneatable. The main courses were often either not cooked enough and therefore tough, or overcooked and dry, but the worse was being served overcooked frozen, deep fried food which was absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. By the time we left the main course we didn't wait around for sweet because it probably wasn't worth it, it took too long to serve our table and we couldn't be bothered anymore. I have never been served frozen food which has been deep fried and burnt to add insult to injury. We both lost weight during this cruise and certainly didn't over eat. The food in self service during the day: breakfast wasn't worth getting up for, so we didn't bother most days, lunch: poor choice, practically no salad bar, in fact this consisted of lettuce 2 types, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, so you can see why this was a shock and why we considered it to be beyond poor. Thank god for the afternoon tea, which we don't normally have, but this was the best thing available on board. If we hadn't eaten this then we wouldn't have eaten much at all. Service in the formal restaurant was really slow and often our dinner took 1.5 hrs to serve, during which time you were extremely lucky if you could get a drinks refill, therefore all our table started going to the bar before dinner and taking our drinks in with us to ensure we had a drink with our meal. Although all of this was really bad we had a fab holiday because of the people we met on board, but we will never go with Costa again and we wouldn't recommend Costa to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We are in our 40s and have been on over 40 cruises, so we know what cruising is all about. We are also Diamond members of RCCL. This review has a summary then paragraphs following to expand on each summary item for easy of reading. ... Read More
We are in our 40s and have been on over 40 cruises, so we know what cruising is all about. We are also Diamond members of RCCL. This review has a summary then paragraphs following to expand on each summary item for easy of reading. Cruise on the Oasis if you like 1. to be herded like cattle everywhere you go 2. enjoy standing in lines for everything you do 3. enjoy waiting all day for elevators 4. enjoy waiting more than an hour every time you need to speak to customer service 5. to pay for almost everything as an extra 6. have the worst main dining room food of the major cruise lines, just as bad as carnival main dining room 7. be told to GET OUT of the buffet while you are eating 8. been bombarded with sales pitch for everything on top of all the other extras they charge you for 9. have disgusting food as your only only 24 hour food option in the Promenade Cafe 1. to be herded like cattle everywhere you go 2. enjoy standing in lines for everything you do We sailed Christmas week and there was over 6,300 passengers and almost 3,000 crew on thse ship, that is over 9,000 people. There was not one place you could go to get away from crowds, except the cabin. Everywhere we went there was a line. 3. enjoy waiting all day for elevators Waiting for the two sets of elevators, one set at the front and one set at the back was always a tiresome. Most time by the time the elevator got to the floor we were waiting on, it was packed, so you have to wait for another elevator or a 3rd elevator. Many people just got on any elevator regardless of the direction. 4. enjoy waiting more than an hour every time you need to speak to customer service Seriously, 5 to 6 customer service reps for a ship with over 6,300 passengers, do the math. It would not be so bad if they didn't mess up every request we made. Customer service should be at least 3 times the size, but RCCL doesn't care about customer service, they only care about charging you for everything they can. Also, once to do get to a customer service rep, they are very rude, they could at least act as if they cared about our concerns. 5. to pay for almost everything as an extra Remember these words before you get on board HOW MUCH IS THAT, as they charge for everything, even room service. They even have paid food from the specialty restaurants on the main dining room menu, a first on any cruise ship. But they dont put that first in the brochures or on the web site. 6. have the worst main dining room food of the major cruise lines, just as bad as carnival main dining room The food the whole week was almost inedible. I actually lost 3 pounds on this cruise and I normally gain 5 pounds on other cruises. That is how bad the main dining room food is and that is why they add paid items to the menu from the specialty restaurants. To get good food, they force you to go to the paid speciality restaurants. More ka ching for RCCL. Also the food in the much heralded Central Park Cafe is OK, but not great, but when you don't have anything good to eat, it becomes great food. 7. be told to leave the buffet every 15 minutes while you are eating One day while we were having breakfast in the windjammer buffet, they were blasting an announcement on the speakers so loud we couldn't even talk. IF YOU ARE FINISHED GET OUT. I couldn't believe it, another first RCCL doesn't place in the brochures or web site. The nerve of RCCL, everyone paid a lot of money and I mean a lot of money to sail on the ship and to be told IF YOU ARE FINISHED GET OUT repeatedly is ridiculous. 8. been bombarded with sales pitch for everything on top of all the other extras they charge you for It is impossible to take a walk in the promenade without been asked to buy something. Come on RCCL, cut down on the sales and send more people to actual provide customer service to the people sailing on board. 9. have disgusting food as your only only 24 hour food option in the Promenade Cafe I have a real beef with the only 24 food option available on the ship. Promenade Cafe is a small pick your own food restaurant. First there is never any place to sit, RCCL only has 1 overloaded person cleaning the tables, everyone else is selling. Second, the small sandwiches that are served are completely disgusting. No one that is starving would even eat that food. The only other option is room service, but wait for it, they charge you to deliver the food to your cabin. More ka ching for RCCL. We paid 35,000 for 4 balconies on this ship. What a waste of money and a waste of a week of our lives. Never again RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
What a disappointment.We have been on many cruises over the years, none as bad as this one. The customer services staff were unbelievably rude, the staff above waiter level were completely arrogant. 15% was added on to everything including ... Read More
What a disappointment.We have been on many cruises over the years, none as bad as this one. The customer services staff were unbelievably rude, the staff above waiter level were completely arrogant. 15% was added on to everything including water bought at the bar. On top of that, 7 euros a day per person was added to the final bill for tips regardless of quality of service. The waiting staff were dissatisfied with their treatment by the company resulting in poor service. There were passengers embarking and disembarking for two consecutive nights making us feel that our cruise was over early. One couple was in bed naked when the next set of passengers entered the cabin having been given a key. The food was appalling considering it was an Italian ship one would think that at least the pasta dishes would be good, sadly not so. The food was either tepid or over cooked. The embarkation procedure was ridiculous with some staff giving one set of instruction only to be told something completely different by another member of staff resulting in people missing pre-arranged taxi transfers. The afternoon tea was set out with blue plastic cups reminiscent of a children's tea party these needed serious checking as most had either lipstick stains or stale tea or coffee. Water in the main dining room had to be purchased as none was supplied.The destinations were good Abu Dhabi, Dubai and a couple of places in Oman and the weather was superb. The trips were a big rip off and all can be booked privately from the port when you leave the ship. Would choose the cruise again but just not with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin ... Read More
The Pros: The ship is very modern with some state of the art features which do not reflect in the way the cabins are fitted out. On the whole the staff are very hardworking and trying to please. You can see certainly the cabin stewards working almost around the clock. The embarkation process was smooth and efficient and our luggage arrived to our cabin very fast. The Cons. 1. ACCOMMODATION/HOUSEKEEPING On arriving on the QV we were quite happy with our accommodation even though we found some old fruit underneath our dressing table and some dirt on the walls which had not been wiped clean. We considered this an oversight and did not make a fuss about it. Underneath the lockers on each side of the bed we found some old medication and pins. We would have felt happier if we had thought a thorough cleaning had been carried out. On the second day using the Ladies Changing Room on the Spa floor I noticed no conditioner - towels on the floor having fallen out of the overflowing used towels basket. The sauna itself was very clean and has a fabulous viewing window. In fact the ship really is very well set out and the decor is lovely. The only thing that lets Cunard down is the lack care taken with regard to cleanliness. The day prior to our departure we were told by our cabin steward that he could not give us any more tissues in our cabin as we were leaving -â€" we subsequently sorted this matter out by having to go down once again to the Pursers' desk. They contacted the housekeeper who said we could have more tissues but we are still wondering what happened here. We felt that now we were leaving our comfort was no longer important. The TV in our A1 cabin was an old cheap TV which went to black and white when a program was on .Very limited and usually 4 very old films a day .No Sport.Cant even match the Princess TV package. 2. LIDO During our first few days in the Lido we raised the following issues with the Maitre D' and then with the Pursers' Desk as we felt we were getting nowhere fast with the Maitre D'. A. We noticed a number of flies floating around and when we raised the matter with the Maitre D' of the Lido and the Purser's Desk we were given to understand that to implement measures to get rid of the flies would not be allowed for H&E reasons - I cannot see that leaving flies on food could be healthier. We are Elite members of Princess and have never been on a ship before where we have encountered flies in an enclosed eating area. B. We had read with much anticipation about the Indian Buffet nights in the Lido and very much looked forward to the same but they did not happen. Instead this buffet had been moved to the Todd English restaurant for a higher charge of $20.00. This feels like a very cynical move. Reading about the Indian Buffet in the Lido formed part of our decision to come on this cruise. C. During first few days on 7 occasions we went to have our meal there to find that the hot water and coffee had run out. I would have thought that the basic requirement for even the most mediocre of restaurants is a supply of coffee/hot water for tea. I noticed that the burners underneath the various pots had been allowed to go out. I had to point this out to the waiter and asked him to re-ignite the burners and bring new ones. The queues of disappointed people at the tea/coffee points was full of frustration. I don't know if this was allowed to happen because of inefficiency, not caring, and simply not being good enough. D. Food temperature -â€" in the Lido I don't believe we at any time had what could be called a hot meal (or even a warm one) for some reason we could never get anything that was not just "Lukewarm". Quite spoilt our appreciation of most dishes. We heard similar complaints about the Britannia restaurant. E. On Princess we always eat in Horizon because of the great freedom and also the choice and being able to eat when and where and help ourselves to exactly what we want. However, on the Queen Victoria during the outbreak of Novovirus on the ship which continued for almost a week we found our choices of food in the Lido restricted, inconvenient, and like a school canteen. Not at all what we needed to complete the Lido experience. 3. ENTERTAINMENT I am married to an Irish person and quite frankly I was rather taken aback by a comedian on board who made some "Irish" jokes in very poor taste (intimating that Irish people are stupid!). He made fun of the Welsh but only of high pitched voices and fun of the English for being reserved - I would not have minded if he said we are too proud, drink too much even but being stupid is not a character trait one wishes to hear. I felt very uncomfortable and walked out with my husband. I work in a law firm and know that even on television now such jokes would not be acceptable. Jokes about race are not acceptable. I made my views known to the cruise director and all I got was a patronising response. In this day and age of PC correctness I hope Carnival the owners of Cunard stop this before this becomes a serious issue - I did not hear any jokes about Chinese nationals or French nationals etc. and there were a lot on board - I think you might find they would not find such jokes about their race acceptable either. 4. ITINERARY We were bound in Alexandria for an extra day due to inclement weather. However, we noticed that an old Fred Olsen ship left without coming to any harm. There was a lot of bad feeling on the ship and speculation as no-one believed the Captain when she said it was bad weather. We therefore missed going to Katakolon which was for us one of the highlights of the trip. In Venice where the port closed due to fog -â€" we noted that although the ship was stationary until about 10am in the morning outside Venice we were only told about 5pm that evening that the ship would be going to Trieste and that we had to make our own way to Venice airport. Subsequently we were told by the Pursers' Desk that we would be provided with a transfer to Venice airport and they told us to cancel our taxi pickup previously booked -â€" which cost us (£60.00). The purser then came back to us and told us that Cunard would not provide us with transport to the airport that we would be dropped off at the port and would have to reinstate our original plans which we had cancelled. We are aware of how things can be done correctly on board a ship to make the passengers trust the Captain and the staff but we found that the command structure and communication on the QV was less than acceptable. This was a top down problem and the staff seemed very lacking in motivation because of no clear leadership or direction. Sometimes it seemed as if everyone was working at cross purposes. In conclusion we do not honestly think we would ever consider cruising with Cunard again after all the unnecessary stress, lack of clear management, hygiene and racial issues that we have been subjected to. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
My family booked this cruise to see the Christmas markets a year ago and were so excited to go. We received a email the night we flew to Nuremberg and arrived on the Prestige that because of low water in the Danube we would be bused to the ... Read More
My family booked this cruise to see the Christmas markets a year ago and were so excited to go. We received a email the night we flew to Nuremberg and arrived on the Prestige that because of low water in the Danube we would be bused to the different destinations and different ship and then hotel. We sort of thought this would be a good adventure and instead had the worse experience of any cruise line I have ever been on. You would have thought that Viking would have uped their game knowing this was not what people payed for but they totally dropped the ball and instead from my first experience to my last I felt they knew it was not going to be good so they just did not care . Starting: upon arrival and throughout the cruise the public toilets had receptacles over flowing with paper towels etc...yuck. You had to hunt down housekeeping to get shampoo etc...it was never replaced as used. Going to the front desk with a question I was informed any problems were to be addressed by writing customer service when we returned......really This was the worst food service bar none. Upon arriving at lunch that was billed from 11:30 till 1 pm there were only clean places scattered thought out the dirty setting and we requested to eat together...this was a major accomplishment to get them to set 6 clean places together. The food was cold , left over and picked over and when we asked if there was anything hot we were told we should have come earlier. I do not understand at meals why they set the whole table and then leave dirty places as people leave and you have to hunt for clean tables and clean place settings even during breakfast. Upon busing us to the different cities we would have to eat at a local restaurant of their choice with one option> vegetarian or meat. My daughter being a vegetarian was told they had to serve everyone else before they could serve her. We waited 30 minutes for her food to arrive while we waited and ours was cold and congealed...unacceptable. The whole dining experience was so substandard it is hard to describe the issues. Buses were either too cold or too hot and if anyone mentioned a temperature change they were told there was nothing they could do. In contacting Viking they told all they would give a credit toward a future cruise. I would never step on a Viking ship again and highly recommend to all my friends, family and anyone I can not to book on this cruise line. We have been on over 10 cruises and I have never written such a bad review..most are wonderful and we have had some great experiences. I feel Viking missed the boat here. Too many issues to waste your money on. Complete lack of care by customer service Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This ship had not done its research before the cruise. The weather in northern Australia at this time is unpredictable and the ship had not prepared for the worst scenario. As a result tendering in several ports were difficult. Adequate ... Read More
This ship had not done its research before the cruise. The weather in northern Australia at this time is unpredictable and the ship had not prepared for the worst scenario. As a result tendering in several ports were difficult. Adequate local larger tenders were not firmly booked. As a result two ports were only visited by a small number of guests and those from the US and Canada were deeply disappointed. The boarding process in Sydney was a disaster, due to extra sensitization because of previous outbreak of gastro. The process was completely chaotic and disorganized. Many frail elderly were made to stand for hours. In spite of previous outbreak of gastro and extra sanitizing guests were subjected to eating buns and wraps with their fingers, without sanitizing of their hands. Whether there was anyone suffering as a result of these conditions was of course not known, by guests, but the ship was full of unhappy guest as a result. The menu was full of surprises, not in a nice way. For example, Bouillabaisse, borscht, Minestrone and clam chowder were nothing like what is commonly known. The nightly shows however were mostly excellent. To their credit the serving waiters and room attendants were all very good. This cannot be said about the higher echelon who were not very approachable. There was paranoia that all approaches were potential complaints. Perhaps this can be explained and justified as there were many complains. Australians generally abhor complaints and are easily pleased, especially regarding food. The Rhapsody of the Seas had been a success and is popular in Australia. It is a pity the Radiance is such a let down and put many off Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately for Australia it also caused many from the US and Canada not wanting to return. I hope those in the Miami Head Office would go back to the drawing board. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Let me start by saying this. If you are thinking of cruising with Princess Cruises, DO NOT! Save yourself the time and money, they ship was terrible. Princess Star was a joke, the food was terrible, and I mean terrible. The buffet was a ... Read More
Let me start by saying this. If you are thinking of cruising with Princess Cruises, DO NOT! Save yourself the time and money, they ship was terrible. Princess Star was a joke, the food was terrible, and I mean terrible. The buffet was a 1.5 out of 10 (the 1.5 is only because breakfast was decent, but that's pretty hard to mess up). The restaurants where you had to pay for the meal were just as bad as the included meals, there were never more than 8 items on the menu and I had to regularly send the food back to kitchen. Steaks were never cooked correctly even in their steakhouse, they even managed to forget to put the sauce on fettucine alfredo. The staff are friendly enough and our cabin steward was great. The drinks were $11 or above for anything alcoholic, $4 for a pop or $7 for a mocktail. The water that they provided was usually brown in color and a bottle was the same price as a pop. Even the cream for your coffee at breakfast was sour. When you poured the cream in your coffee you could see it curdle at the top. The amenities on board were a joke, the swimming pools are only a couple feet deep and no bigger than most hot tubs. There were never enough lounge chairs for guests and people were always waiting for the moment anyone else stood up so they could take yours. They had movies under the stars at night, however for 2600 people they had less than 100 seats. The casino was good enough, exactly what you would expect on a boat, nothing fancy, but they had a couple tables and some slot machines. As for entertainment, they had a magician and a comedy show. The comedian was soo bad nobody even laughed at one of his jokes (not one person). The magician was even worse (I left, but my sister and brother in law stayed). Every morning at about 5 AM, the boat would be getting close to port and would turn on the thrusters. This meant every wall panel in the room would start vibrating to the point were it was so loud we would have to get up and hold the mirrors against the walls. We were supposed to arrive in Mykanos in the evening, however the boat did not have enough fresh water on board and the captain decided to circle around to collect water for the desalinzers instead of paying for water at port. His announcement to the public was "We will be delayed in arriving to Mykanos as our navigator has decided he wants to right his name in the water with the boat". We were told this only a few hours before we were supposed to arrive in Mykanos. Shore Excursions: Generally not bad, the tour guides were a bit weird though. In Croatia, the tour guide referred to the war as an "aggression" and that there general was a national hero and he shouldn't be tried for crimes against humanity by the Hague. (This is what she spoke about for more than half of our 6 hour tour) In Athens they told us Public transit and taxis would be on strike so if we wanted to leave the terminal we had to book with the cruise line transportation. (they told us this the day before we arrive in Athens, fair enough) However, when we arrived at port in Athens there was a long line of taxis waiting there to take anyone in to the city. Princess charged us 4 times the taxi rate. I mentioned Mykanos earlier so I won't talk about that again. Our other excursion was in turkey, that was good enough, however it was supposed to be their only religious excursion, people got so frustrated that our guide wasn't talking about the religious aspects of the tour they left our tour and joined other tours. Now one of the tours we were looking forward to, Hike a volcano and go swimming in hot springs in Santorini. The Volcano was a nice start, it was more like hiking up a rocky hill and wasnt really what I was expecting (I thought we'd see a huge crater in the center or something, but nothing like that). The Hotsprings were NOT HOT!!!!! Even our tour operator told us they are "warm springs" and only 2-3 degrees warmer than the ocean. He mentioned that he didn't recommend going into them, but if we wanted to it was at our own discretion, We were 2 of the 10 that went. the other 30 people stayed on the boat. The water was not even warm, maybe 15-16 degrees Celsius. Our tour description specifically said swim in the natural Hot Springs of Santorini on the side of a Volcano. This was not the case, and one of the biggest disappointments in my view. Our disembarkment tour of Rome was good, worth it for the transfer alone and not having to wait in line at the Vatican. Although most other people on the excursion were mad because the tour guide was rarely audible even on the radio system they had us wear. All in all, it was a terrible cruise. The only good thing about the cruise was the ports we embarked at. We always wanted to bring food on board from the ports but that was against the cruise ships policy. So for the most part on board we played cards (that we bought for $8/pack on the boat) and watched tv in the state rooms. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
The transfer bought from Celebrity from Rome to the port is not worth the money. Celebrity's buses were at a hotel way out of the city of Rome, so by the time you take a taxi to this hotel for their bus, sit around waiting for the ... Read More
The transfer bought from Celebrity from Rome to the port is not worth the money. Celebrity's buses were at a hotel way out of the city of Rome, so by the time you take a taxi to this hotel for their bus, sit around waiting for the bus to leave, it would have been much cheaper for two people to hire a private car shuttle and get there in half the cost and half the time. The Silhouette ship is the most beautifully decorated I have ever seen. And the embarkation process was as smooth as silk. However... This is my 16th cruise, and 7th with Celebrity. Over the years I have learned to love cruising with Celebrity for three reasons: 1) The indoor heated pool on the Millennium class ships, 2) The wonderful Friends of Dorothy gatherings, and 3) The superb dining. Well, Celebrity on the Solstice class ships such as the Silhouette have managed to eliminate all three reasons why I loved Celebrity. First, the indoor pool is no longer heated to a comfortable temperature. Not only that - on our cruise from Rome to Bayonne New Jersey, half the time the pool had a net over it, or there was no water at all in the pool. As to the Friends of Dorothy gatherings - Celebrity decided to have it at the Martini Bar, which is the busiest and most scattered bar of the entire ship, so nobody could find anyone among the crowd gathered there. It is like trying to meet up with someone for the first time at New York's Grand Central Train Station at rush hour. Last, and the saddest of all, the dining: I remember the days when the Celebrity waiter would offer fresh pepper for each course, and scrape away the crumbs at the end of the main course. No longer. You neither get the offer of fresh pepper nor the clearing of crumbs. In fact, our single waiter and his assistant had to serve 14 passengers. The worst decision Celebrity made was to place tables merely 1 or 2 inches away from each other. I had requested a table for two, and our table was inches away from the next. The end result was like eating in a canteen, where the waiter had to throw dishes at you from left, right, behind you or even reaching from across the table. If you read the wonderful description of Celebrity's website on their new Silhouette - each feature they highlight requires an additional fee, which is not mentioned. As to the Cruise Port of Bayonne New Jersey where the Silhouette docked at the end of its journey, the terminal is clearly not equipped to handle a ship the size of the Silhouette. When we arrived, it took hours for the luggage and passengers to get off - many hours after the scheduled arrival, and causing many passengers to miss their flight. Some friends of mine didn't get off till 12:30 PM, as the next passengers were already getting on board. (On my travel summary from Celebrity, the scheduled arrival time is 3 AM.) To describe how ill-equipped the "cruise port" is - here is the procedure for the luggage: small cages of luggage were first one by one off-loaded onto the dock. Then the cages were lifted two by two by forklifts onto a truck. Then the truck had to driven the luggage cages to the cruise terminal, where each cage had to be lifted off the truck and then the luggage had to be taken out of each cage to be made available for the passengers to pick up. This of course took hours. Think of 2,886 passengers with at least 2,886 pieces of luggage. There were only two trucks at a time being loaded. The procedure for passengers were no less cumbersome: even when we were told we could get off, we had to stand for half an hour on the stairs and exit, waiting to get off the ship. After we got off the ship and got onto buses which had to transport all the passengers to the terminal, we sat on the bus for another 10 minutes because the terminal could not accommodate beyond a certain number of passengers. The entire disembarkation process took hours. Bayonne New Jersey as a cruise port is definitely not ready or prime time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were really looking forward to this particular cruise as it was our 25Th Wedding Anniversary the previous month. We have cruised many times previously with both Princess and Royal Caribbean. We booked Cunard as we were under the ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this particular cruise as it was our 25Th Wedding Anniversary the previous month. We have cruised many times previously with both Princess and Royal Caribbean. We booked Cunard as we were under the illusion that we were booking something exceptional and of a more elegant and superior quality. The ship itself is beautiful in the main public areas if a little 'plastic' in appearance. We could not fault the staff who carried out their work with dedication and attention to detail but all appeared to lack any sense of ownership of the Cunard brand. Many appeared unhappy or at the most just getting through the daily grind. The food in the Britannia Restaurant was not equal to what we have experienced on both Princess and Royal Caribbean. The Duck on all of the nights it was served was tough. The portions were also smaller and in many cases lacked imagination especially after the build up it receives in the brochures etc. The waiter staff were excellent and very attentive but again they seemed to lack enthusiasm for 'the Cunard brand'. On one of the many formal nights (which by the way were difficult to distinguish from the ordinary semi-formal/smart casual nights other than on one formal night we had Lobster)when the kitchen/waiter staff paraded around the restaurant the announcer tried to muster enthusiasm with the cry because.......WE ARE CUNARD!! there was a very obvious lack of response from the staff - it was lack luster and they appeared embarrassed. The Lido restaurant was very disorganised. The hassle of trying to find a table was tedious. Standing in line to make a cup of tea was not something we expected on this ship. On our first day we were approached about the 'special offer' spa experience. $350 for two people for the 18 day cruise. It was sold to us as unlimited use of the Spa facilities. As it had a steam room we paid for this. On other ships the spa area especially the steam room and indoor pool have been free. As we were at sea the next day we thought this was perfect and accepted that perhaps the experience would be more than we had had before. We attended and received our gowns and went into the spa area. Although not together we found two beds and duly left our gowns and belongings on them whilst we had a dip in the pool. Another couple followed us in but could not find a bed. They proceeded to reception, The girl who had booked us in two minutes previously arrived into the spa area and removed our dressing gowns and put them in the bin!!! Apparently you cannot leave a bed and use the pool. Once you leave it you have forfeited it. What a rip off --- We demanded our money back. They apparently have fifty places which can cater for a ship of this size. They were also selling day passes so could not cope with the volume. The photographs taken were either at port or the supposed formal occasions were very poor with little or no attention to individual preferences or positioning. Because of this and the extortionate price $25 each they struggled to sell many. Cunard needs to think and ask why this is. Entertainment was very poor. The theatre productions were at best the standard of an am dram group. Very little variety. Afternoon tea! Beautiful scones etc which you could have for free in the Lido or pay $25 for the privilege of a white gloved waiter serving them to you in another area. Nothing explains how ludicrous this is more than the following... We sat in the Conservatory one day eating our free scones whilst on the other side which had been roped off the white gloved waiters served some people who had paid the above mentioned charge for the same scones. They also had the pleasure of the harpist who sat on their side. We also had the pleasure as we listened from our side!! What a shame that they have got so much wrong. Cunard really need to look and listen to their customers. We are genuine lovers of cruising and would have loved to continue to experience what Cunard purports to offer as it advertises. The reality is very different. As for us we will stick with Princess or Royal Caribbean or try others. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This ship is dark,dreary and past its use by date. Service was shocking;we had problems oredering wine with our meals,wine turning up after meal was completed for 3 nights running,waiter seemed suprised when we asked for the wine to be ... Read More
This ship is dark,dreary and past its use by date. Service was shocking;we had problems oredering wine with our meals,wine turning up after meal was completed for 3 nights running,waiter seemed suprised when we asked for the wine to be served before the start of meal.On ordering a bottle of sparkling wine waiter appeared with 1 sherry glass and 1 wine glass !! Dirty glasses were placed on our table,and left for the duration of our meal,despite asking waiter to get rid of them,these were NOT our glasses.Open sitting dinner does not work;despite going to the inconvenience of booking a table we still had to wait.We were also shocked at poor dress standards of other diners,it is not polite to wear baseball hats at the table,nor wear boardies or thongs! 5 days passed before we were approached by a waiter out on the decks,same poor service in Charlies cafe.Waiters walked round in a dream and would not give eye contact. Why does the music have to be so loud out on Lido deck?Why do we have to put up with music videos going on the screen all day long?Surely the staff could see the mass exodus when dreadful Rap,Hip Hop music was put on.If we were at a resort we would NOT want a large screen flickering all day long,KEEP the screen for night time,movies under the stars....do not inflict it on passengers. P&O you lost a lot of money from wine,beer,cocktails and coffees sales due to poor waiting staff. We also did not appreciate the very loud music from the Lido,we could actually hear it in our cabin on deck 10.The balcony was virtually unusable due to outward opening door,also the stench of cigarette smoke wafting up from deck 7 and down from deck 12,we had asked for non smoking,we should have been told smoking was on the starboard side. We spent $9.000 dollars on this cruise,and feel very cheated on our experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We Arrived in New York 21st overnighted then Boarded next day Saturday. No Luggage labbles available/supplied until the Bus has arrived at the dock & we had waited over 20 minutes. Boarded the Poesia & escorted to our Cabin on ... Read More
We Arrived in New York 21st overnighted then Boarded next day Saturday. No Luggage labbles available/supplied until the Bus has arrived at the dock & we had waited over 20 minutes. Boarded the Poesia & escorted to our Cabin on Deck 12 (Balcony). First couple of days experience "passable" but the continual 5 languages begun to annoy. ENGLISH (1748 english speaking passengers)LATIN(OK it is a Latin Ship) GERMAN ( I know that most Greman schools teach German as a second language)FRENCH & SPANISH. The Impression we obtained (along with numerous other passengers was that ANNA (Cruise Director) liked the sound of her voice & desired to show how clever she is. Food, passable but SO REPERTICOUS absoluteley no variation to Breakfast & lunch in the Buffett Diner poorly cooked presented & the variety appalling. Crusie Shows NO LIVE BAND IN THE THRETER; no intrduction of the EXCELLENT PERFORMERS. On the final night supposed to be HIGHTLIGHTS OF THE CRUISE not one singer no dancing no crowd involvement ect ect ect. Tours good but very much over priced $98 each to see the town & canal we did it by Taxi $25 each WHY THE ENNORMOUS PRICE HIKE. Staff distant did NOT show ANY Hospitality to Passengers & seemed to be allocated one task,ie pick up dirty plates that is ALL I DO do not suggest I should pick up dirty glasses. Service Charge "NOT NEGOTIABLE" $12/day/passenger. If Passengers chose to "tip" individual Staff can"happen" but the service charge WILL NOT BE REMOVED UNTIL AFTER CLOSE OF BUSINESS LAST NIGHT. 0545 morning of arrival over 250 lined up trying to sort out Service Charge ect. Why can not the accounts be closed say 8.00pm last night & the ability be given to sort out questions during the last night. MANY OTHER CRUISE LINES OPERATE THIS WAY; no it seems to be TOOO HARD FOR MSC besides THIS IS THE WAY MSC OPERATES PASSENGERS DO AS WE SAY. It almost seems in good Faulty Towers style: MSC would run a very happy contented problem free cruise if it was PASSENGER FREE. & believe me my family will contribute to making MSC PASSENGER FREE. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have recently returned from two back to back cruises [one week Italian Coast one week Spanish Coast] on the Grandeur of the Seas. The ship was old and far too small for the amount of passengers. I was very disappointed in everything ... Read More
I have recently returned from two back to back cruises [one week Italian Coast one week Spanish Coast] on the Grandeur of the Seas. The ship was old and far too small for the amount of passengers. I was very disappointed in everything about this cruise. The stateroom had several faults i.e. ill fitting cupboards which caused the wardrobe door to fall open when the ship was in choppy waters, and banging against the wall during the night. The fridge didn't close fully, so items were not very chilled and ice melted quite quickly. The back of the mirrors on the bathroom cupboards was scratched. There was nowhere to store our empty suitcases and the Air Conditioning failed when in port. On the upside our stateroom attendant was superb. He was caring and fastidious about everything. The Windjammer buffet was a total shambles. The food was mediocre. There were only cold plates available for hot food at breakfast and only hot plates available for salad meals at lunchtime. Items were laid out in an uncoordinated fashion eg. toast, butter and jam were not adjacent and this meant walking around all the time looking for items amongst so many passengers all doing the same. After taking food finding somewhere to sit was impossible as there were so many people all trying to find a seat. The only available cold drinks were water,lemonade and ice tea which is something I normally like but it was tasteless. Tea and coffee were available, but on one occasion when there were no cups I was told by an assistant that I would have to go around the other side to find one. We chose My Time Dining, but when I went online to reserve as suggested, the only time available was 7.30pm. I booked only to discover that it clashed with many evening events that we would like to have attended. The menus were very ordinary,[nothing special for a cruise] There were many Indian style dishes to choose from, but nothing outstanding. Also the meals were tepid and consisted of only three courses. We were forced to complain to customer care when were were kept over two hours for a tepid three course meal, which caused us to miss the show one evening. The seating was so crowded that it was impossible to pass between tables in some places and the waiters were having difficulties getting through to some diners. Though they all worked very hard and were completely polite and helpful, there were many duties they carried out in a less than professional manner. The dress code was totally ignored by many diners, even on formal nights men were being allowed in wearing t.shirts and cropped trousers drinking from cans of beer as they entered the dining room. Although there were free teas and coffee available from a machine outside Windjammer, this meant making a journey to deck 9 from wherever you were. Coffee was not available from the bars and Ben and Jerry's sold it in paper cups and closed at 11.00.pm. Room service brought us coffee one night but it was disgusting, very strong and almost cold. The decks were overcrowded on sailing days. We felt like sardines in a can when sunbathing on loungers that were so close together, and there were only two swimming small swimming pools. One in the Solarium which was stained and shabby and one on deck which was better designed for children as it had more shallow features than swimming space. There wasn't a cinema onboard but films were available in our Stateroom on a very small screen TV, which meant we would have to stay in if we wanted to watch one. Pirates of the Caribbean was on every single night. Rugby World Cup was being played in New Zealand and many passengers were interested in the action but none was available anywhere to watch. I should have thought that a world sporting event such as that would warrant some coverage. The excursions were absolutely superb the destinations were good and the guides were excellent,in so far as they were very knowledgeable, friendly and informative. And the shows that we managed to see were also extremely entertaining and enjoyable. All the crew were most courteous and helpful, it was a real joy to be amongst them, nothing was too much trouble and they made every effort to make us feel special. The transition between cruises wasn't as smooth as it could have been. The last night of the first cruise we were invited to a cocktail party with the other consecutive cruisers where we were told that if we would be issued with new sea passes later that night and if we left the ship the following day we should use our old sea pass to leave and our new one to return. If we were not leaving the ship we didn't need to do anything. We should just use the new sea pass when next leaving the ship. However when we did this at the next port of call we were asked for ID which we had not taken with us, as were told that we would not need to go through security. I had heard such wonderful things about Royal Caribbean Cruises but I m afraid I will not being sailing with them again. I felt that it was not value for money in any way. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We booked a 3 night mini cruise, to celebrate a special birthday. 2 sisters ,one of whom is disabled and uses a mobility scooter, and myself.We had been looking forward to our cruise for some time. Embarkation was exceptional, never ... Read More
We booked a 3 night mini cruise, to celebrate a special birthday. 2 sisters ,one of whom is disabled and uses a mobility scooter, and myself.We had been looking forward to our cruise for some time. Embarkation was exceptional, never boarded so fast, cabin was lovely, we had been up-graded, so a wonderful start. Our cabin steward was lovely, very helpful. Things went down hill fast after this really. food was good in the buffet, but as a vegetarian i struggled in the main restaurant and ended up eating the same thing on 3 nights! We decided against a buffet breakfast and went to one of the main restaurants, with waiter service, or not?. we waited for over 20 mins for our order to be taken, 30 mins for our coffee, our (cold) food eventually arrived, after 50 mins, we complained, and ate in the buffet after. we were unable to dock at St Peters Port, i understand this is a common enough problem, but it seems that other cruise lines , dock else where? we had a sea day instead, with lots on offer, such as bingo, not to our taste.Such a shame on a 3 day trip. We checked our on ship accounts on the last day, my disabled sisters was wrong, we went to the customer service desk, and were told this would be put right, we checked again after our meal, it was still wrong, we returned to the desk ! this happened 4 times, and we also qued in the morning before leaving. It would appear that Princess ask most passengers to take off there own luggage, i had never come across this before, and the results were mayhem, we were unable to get in the lifts, and did not have the option of using the stairs with a disabled scooter. Luggage was strewn over the entire ship, everyone was grumpy, great end to a crap holiday, but worse was to happen. On attempting to leave the ship, chaos reigned, we qued, for ages, then at the exit we were stopped as my sisters account had been flagged, we felt like criminals, i have never been so embarrassed in my entire life, we were dragged to one side while a phone call was made, and we were then allowed to leave! Shambles! I have complained to Princess, i have been told 'they hope to learn from the errors made' Why has it taken me so long to write this? my sister has only just had the money taken, replaced in her account. I have crusied many times before and never had such an awful experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We had cruised before only a river cruise though, we had been told that this ship and P&O were the ones for us (by people who "knew"). the cabin was adequate, although when we arrived ours stank of tobacco smoke, they ... Read More
We had cruised before only a river cruise though, we had been told that this ship and P&O were the ones for us (by people who "knew"). the cabin was adequate, although when we arrived ours stank of tobacco smoke, they did fumigate it but eventually the smell came back, we believe it was coming from the crew quarters as they were right next door. the carpet was stained badly and the upholstery on the furniture was tatty, not what we expected from a new 2010 ship. decor was very drab too. Cabin steward and room service waiter were excellent. i think they miss a trick by not offering binoculars, even for a price it would have made the views more enjoyable. food- adequate certainly nothing special, the waiting staff were at best ambivelent to our presence at worst downright rude with notable exceptions. we chose freedom dining and therefore could choose when to eat, that worked pretty well. the "select dining" resturaunts were very good, for a cover charge that was reasonable, food in Sindu was excellent, service on our second visit poor, plus despite us having booked 5 days earlier they "did not have our booking" but "accomodated us" food in 17 also excellent as was the glasshouse. the waiters in many instances could have done with an interpreter so poor was their english. someone should tell them a smile costs nothing! comunication of weather forcasts non-existant, the interactive TV service was rubbish, it kept saying things like we left such and such a port on saturday when it was actually wednesday, when the cruise diary or log arrived on the last day it failed to mention the force 11 storm we endured for 8 hours prior to arriving at Kefelonia. it also downgraded two force 8's to 7's, (unless the TV was wrong again!!! three times my door key would not allow me to enter the room and i had to ge it reprogramed, you would think i were a criminal the way the reception staff behaved, lots of behind hand whispering and looking in our direction, totally unnecessary, even when one of them came with me on the third occaision having "reprogrammed my card it still did not work, they then had to reprograme the lock, that sorted it! in all too many sea days, pools unusable due to unsupervised children creating havoc, adult only pool was like a communal bath, no showers therefore you would be sloshing around with everyones suncream and what else?. the retreat was booked up within an hour of people boarding, (we did not get on for 3.5 hours so No Chance, even then the place was mostly empty and considering the price and the area it occupies i'm sure better use could be made for it, but that would not fill P&O coffers. entertainment - Peter Piper - jokes i had told when at school (they werent funny then) Peter Cuttler - good voice, thats it! Mike Scotts 4 Top revue - mostly good although one chap was very flat, the resident band was rubbish, no where hear punchy enough and on "stand by me" the bass player was very poor despite only having 6 notes to play. Mark Walker - very good Aiden J Harvey - still telling jokes and doing impressions from the 70's, who can remember what John Conteh sounded like?? did go to two others but cant remember what (i dont drink) as they were poor obviously did not leave any impression. could not be bothered with the rest as this lot put us off, but rumour has it that only the Freddie Mercury tribute act was any good (not for me, dont do Queen). Bar prices are reasonable, especially the mocktails. shop staff mostly very good, the exception being one of the watch staff insinuating my Montblanc watch was fake despite not even looking at it for more than a second, i obvioulsy look like i cant afford it! needless to say I did not purchase anything from him. selection of clothes in the shops are very limited. the port visits were as follows Malaga - building site, we went on a tour with a chap who continually banged on about how wonderful Picasso was boring the pants off of us for around 20mins in 35C heat at one point. Kefalonia (even the greeks don't know how to spell it) - very nice, we did the natural wonders tour, that is not worth the effort. one of the "wonders" was a cave which is not as good a wooky hole and that is not great but the island is lovely,our guide was excellent. just a note two coaches actually broke down on route to various tours!! Dubrovnik - Great Venice - its Venice... been before but managed to do things that we had not done before i.e Doges Palace and the Basilica as well as a gondola ride on one of the booked tours, only down side was on the return to the ship they dropped us off at the end of the dock (having departed directly from the ship) we had over a mile to walk to get back on board, we discovered a shuttle service when we had covered most of the distance, there had been no communication from the ships staff about this, (i have a foot problem which prevents me from walking too far) so better comunication is needed, everyone was moaning about it. Korcula - really nice corfu - tatty as most of Greece, we did a 7.5 hour trip around the island, not worth it, very tiring, shou have stayed in the town. Vigo - Why?? Too Many Churches but hey ho gotta fill the time. P&O go all the way to extract cash from you, it is very blatant, the Sailaways are pushed very hard, all to sell you a drink of Champagne... the cruise CD on sale shows as many kids as possible (extracts on the TV) so the parents will be mugged into purchasing. the Photography staff are annoying in the extreme and not very good, we had a pic taken on the first formal night but the angle it was short from made a very strange picture (i had more chins that a chinese telephone directory), in Kefalonia we were told by the Captain to take care when walking down the causeway as there were no railings, " stay in the middle" when we disembarked the photographers were positioned in the middle so you have no option to walk around the edge!! if i was to describe the experience - Butlins on sea. not one i will be repeating, this cost around £9,000 I can do alot better for half of that! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Western Mediterranean Cruise, E116.  June 18th - July 02nd 2011.  Our first impression upon boarding this ship was one of shabbiness. The carpets are all fraying, with holes and dirt all over them. The wall panels along the corridors are ... Read More
Western Mediterranean Cruise, E116.  June 18th - July 02nd 2011.  Our first impression upon boarding this ship was one of shabbiness. The carpets are all fraying, with holes and dirt all over them. The wall panels along the corridors are full of dirty marks and dents.  One evening as we walked along the corridor, we saw water pouring from an overhead light.  When we reported this to reception, we were told they were aware of this matter and not to worry.  Water and electric combined, but not to worry? A couple of hours later, we noticed that the water was still pouring from the light, but the crew had placed a bucket on the floor underneath, so that the carpet didn't get wet !!! All the woodwork around the decks is in dire need of a coat of varnish. The sun-loungers are desperate for a good jet-wash, if not in need of replacement. As we boarded the ship in Southampton, we were informed that our cabins had yet to be released and we should make our way up to the "Plaza" restaurant and help ourselves to a drink and a meal. After a few days of being on this cruise, some people started to refer to "The Plaza" as "The Canteen", "The Cattle Market", or even "The Piggeries"..... If those titles don't give you an idea of the state of the place, then I don't know what will !!! To be perfectly honest, I have eaten far better food in a works canteen !!! When we eventually got to our inside cabin, we entered a box that was anything but "Tardis" like. It was all of 10ft X 11ft, contained a double bed, a double wardrobe, a dressing table - with mirror, a bedside cabinet and another tall cupboard containing a fridge and T.V. The shower-room was off this area and measured approximately 5ft X 3ft. Now this may all seem quite functional, but when one of you is stood up getting dressed, the other has to lie on the bed, as there is no floor space left for anyone else !!! There are far too many passengers allowed onto this ship for comfort, leaving very little open space for anyone, at anytime, even in the so-called better restaurants. When we booked this cruise, we stated that we didn't want anything too formal. We like to get dressed up, but in a more casual way - shirt and trousers, as opposed to suit and tie. Our Travel Agent assured us that the formal theme was only an option and so long as we where smartly dressed, then everything would be fine. We did take our formal wear, as once in a while isn't too bad, but when we are on holiday, we wish to be relaxed; we don't particularly wish to be formal. The ship set sail on the Saturday. On the Sunday, we received two newsletters, both contradictory, stating that evening's dress code. Needless to say, everyone on ship was confused and later that afternoon, it was announced over the tannoy system that it would be a formal evening. Better late than never, I suppose !!! The following day, the same thing happened again. We did not wish to have two formal evenings together, so we dressed smart-casual. As promised by our Travel Agent, this wasn't a problem, not in the restaurant or theatre later. However, after we had been to the theatre, we decided to go to one of the bars (Magnums) for a last drink. Imagine our horror and embarrassment when the bar attendant told us quite loudly, in front of other people: "I'm sorry Sir, this is a formal evening and you are not suitably dressed. Could you please leave the bar". This particular evening just so happened to be our tenth anniversary, so made the situation even worse !!! Nobody books a P&O Cruise to be humiliated. We complained about this matter four times, twice verbally and twice in written form, but not once, did we receive any form of acknowledgment or apology. We now realise that P&O stands for Pretentious & Obnoxious !!! The trips ashore are on the expensive side and not very well organised. We did the Florence and Pisa excursions. In Florence, our guide was Italian. When we arrived, she gave us all a transmitter with ear pieces to place around our necks, for the guided tour. Not one of the transmitters worked, all that we could hear was crackling, everyone complained, but the guide took no notice. Consequently, we walked all around Florence, not knowing where in the City that we where, or what we were looking at. We then went onto Pisa, which was to be for one hour only, as time was tight. However, we hadn't been told that within this one hour, we had to do a ten minute walk from the coach and a ten minute walk back. As we arrived at approximately 3.0pm, we were informed that in order to climb the leaning tower, we would need to purchase tickets and book in for the next available tour. The next available tour was at 5.50pm. A three hour queue to climb the leaning tower is the norm, so why only take us there for one hour? This trip cost £74 per person, £148 in total, for a shambolic day out and again, no apologies !!! The so-called "entertainment" was something else, apart from one turn (Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising - a Freddy Mercury tribute) they were dreadful. Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising was on for four nights on the run though, a bit much, even if he was good. The rest of the turns were so bad, they wouldn't have stood a chance of getting through to boot camp on the X Factor. They would have been paid off and told to leave the stage in any working mens club. One particular night, there was a so-called Magician appearing, I've never actually seen anyone die on stage before, but not even his "magic" could make him survive that night, people were actually walking out mid-performance !!! The award for the worst act throughout the whole holiday though, has got o go to "The Headliners Theatre Company". This group couldn't have carried a tune in a bucket. I've seen better turns in an eye. From the screeching that was supposed to pass for singing, to the crashing about that was supposed to pass for dancing, to the annoying girl screaming "WOO" and kicking her leg up every ten seconds, it was all too much !!! One night, the comedian was so bad, even the "entertainment" staff kicked him off stage and cancelled his show for the following evening. To "compensate" for this "loss", a film was shown in the cinema - The Kings Speech - a film that had been repeated over and over on the ships TV, all that day !!! The whole experience was on a par with Butlins or Hi-De-Hi being at sea. The only difference being, Hi-De-Hi was extremely entertaining !!! All in all, a very bad experience aboard a so-called flagship company, one that we shall never be repeating !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We travelled from the uk and had booked the transfer from Milan to Savona, on arrival at the Airport there was no organisation at all we asked 3 different Costa Staff where our transfer coach was and no one could give us an answer.The ... Read More
We travelled from the uk and had booked the transfer from Milan to Savona, on arrival at the Airport there was no organisation at all we asked 3 different Costa Staff where our transfer coach was and no one could give us an answer.The Checking in procedure at Savona was a slow long progress.Our Cabin was great plenty of space, a good sized Bathroom , but the Air Conditioning was very poor we turned it up as high as possible but it never colded the cabin down, we asked but nothing was ever done.Dinner was edible however you needed to eat all 6 courses to feel as though you had eaten anything, sometimes the food was only just warm.Our main complaint was the price of Drinks on Board I know the ship is called Costa Pacifica but it really should be called "Cost a Packet" I have never been charged so much for drinks in any Hotel or Ship in the world their cheapest bottle of Italian plonk was 19 euros and it was yuk the price of a Gin & Tonic was 6.75 euors, please do not go on any costa cruise unless you are stone sober however you will still be charged 2.60 euros for a bottle of water.The excursions were also extremly expensive and you were rushed from pillow to post, wonderful places to visit but no time to look.Please do not spoil you holiday by going on costa. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had taken a cruise from SFO to Mexico aboard the NCL Spirit in 2005 and loved the quality of the ship, food, staff , etc. a great experience, this time was far different! In an effort to give an accurate review of the NCL Star, I have ... Read More
We had taken a cruise from SFO to Mexico aboard the NCL Spirit in 2005 and loved the quality of the ship, food, staff , etc. a great experience, this time was far different! In an effort to give an accurate review of the NCL Star, I have separated my review into different categories with an explanation of why I have reviewed them like I have. Ship: 5 out of 10, nothing special here, it is obviously made to house a lot of people with ncls budget in mind! don't expect teak decks and deck chairs on this one it is very utilitarian. Cabin: 4 out of 10, the lay out of the cabin was very small but usable, the balcony was very small and only 1/2 covered with the balcony above so who ever was leaning over their rail was right above your head as you were sitting outside. The balcony furniture was cheap and distasteful, the glass was dirty as was the floor with paint drips all over it! 3 times out of the 7 days the toilet didn't work as they were working on the system, they don't bother to tell you this you this, you just find out as you use them. The cabin service was poor, we didn't get an on-board schedule for the first 2 days, the T.P. was of poor quality and would give you bum rash, we bought our own on the first stop in Mexico and was much happier. The ice service was poor and had to wait for hours to get ice to the cabin and then that was only because we called 3 times to remind them. Dining and Food: 3 out of 10, We ate at the restaurants that were inclusive of the price we paid! and didn't try any of the ones that they charge high prices for. First of all we thought the staff were wonderful, very cheerful and accommodating. The food was borderline awful! and served on the same cheap white plates everywhere, the quality of the food was poor, the selection of the types of food stuffs were basically cheap, the menu was never interesting and they never posted the menus on the TV system yet you could find out what was served at the pay restaurants on bill boards all over the ship as well as on the TV, for the inclusive restaurants, you had to go there and see for yourself! The buffets had the same foods everyday! OMG we are in Mexico you think that maybe there might be some Mexican buffets?? no! just the same choice of basic meals everyday, with watered down juice at breakfast, stale bread stuffs, and everything with a canned food taste, the only thing that we found that was consistently good was the water and the melon! Also we ordered the room service for breakfast (before 8pm the night before) the first 2 mornings it never arrived, after complaining about that it was finally on time the 3rd morning but with no salt, no sugar or creamer for the tea and coffee and the hot breakfast was cold. NCL Policies: 1 out of 10, First off you are required to give a mandatory gratuity that they take directly from your shipboard account. Every-time you turn a corner they are after money for this and money for that, anything that is quality on board they have their hand out for, you feel you are being fleeced from the moment you get to the ship. The ship is grubby with stained couches, chairs and soiled carpeting throughout, it feels like the motel 6 of the high seas! I hope this review helps you in some way, we will never book a NCL cruise again. "Bonn-voyage" Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Having been on cruise in past on Royal Carribean the thought that P & O were bringing a "MEGA" to NZ was exciting so we booked not long after the cruise itinerary came out in 2009 for Jan 11 cruise. We booked top suite on top ... Read More
Having been on cruise in past on Royal Carribean the thought that P & O were bringing a "MEGA" to NZ was exciting so we booked not long after the cruise itinerary came out in 2009 for Jan 11 cruise. We booked top suite on top deck. The build up to our first ever Pacific cruise was huge and we counted the days after a long unpleasant 2010 year to board the ship on Jan 9th 2011 to sail away to paradise. Pleasantly surprised by our suite and even more so by the room steward we had Jheffery (yes that is how it is spelt) settled in for ten nights of bliss!. The weather for first few days was ok but surely hot enough and good for sunbathing on the deck, sipping cocktails, swimming etc . Day three was the hottest by far and so simply melted all day on the top deck. We were advised that day that our first stop at Mystery Island was cancelled as a tropical depression over Vanuatu had turned to cyclone and therefore unsafe for us to make land there. Then HELL broke loose , woken in middle of night in massive (confirmed up to ten metre) seas, cupboards slamming, fell out of bed, things falling from shelves, kids very frightened after realising that the ride was not going to stop and there was nowhere to go even if you could try and walk around. The ship pounded into the huge seas and slamming down into the bow and completely shuddering all night long....... we are boat people but honestly felt extremely helpless waiting for the call to muster stations which thank god didn't eventuate. The ship the next morning was of course like a ghost ship, sick bags everywhere, restaurants empty and so fourth.. the weather continued to to be foul and rough. We limped into Port Vila which itself was trashed from the cyclone, there we sat. The damage to the ship was evident, large gashes bow and stern, photo's of this saw you marched off by security smartly! Captain announced that the itinerary was cancelled and we would be heading four days at sea home to get there for the correct arrival time to begin the next cruise. Saturday morning after requesting to know what the weather was expected to do we find out that people have been leaving the ship to fly home the day before and several were sitting awaiting to leave with their suitcases as we enquired at reception. Despite demanding to talk to someone who actually knew about what was happening they refused to do that in reception instead promised to call us in our suite - obviously the topic was delicate for them. They called us within the hour to advise the trip back was expected to be the same possibly worse... the receptionist then joked "can I come with you when you leave"... interesting comment? Anyway straight away we booked flights to leave the ship the cost of which had shot through the roof over night due to heavy demand for people wanting to leave the ship. Leaving the ship was awful, we passed families, mothers, older people, many of whom were in tears as they couldn't afford the flights out and therefore had to stay on the ship for the unknown journey home. Our kids were relieved as were we to get out of the hell situation.. by this stage the ships pools were not functioning, the entertainment schedule had run out of steam and shrunk to a couple of things per days rather than the full schedule we were used to , the captain had all but stopped communications with passengers and generally staff on board had lost all interest, were tired and in need of good rest! WE understand P & O cant help the weather and accept that BUT what we cant accept is the complete lack of communication from the bridge so we set out to ask P & O the following: - could the captain perhaps have even asked if all passengers were okay the next day, made effort to provide some sort of goodwill like free doctor check for those in need, free internet to keep in touch with loved ones who were worried, free drinks, cabin credits or such like? - not a single mention was made to all passengers of the expected weather on the trip home, we only found out because we demanded to know, - NO mention was made of the further two cyclones headed down the Pacific to NZ, these hit NZ on the Tuesday 18th at midnight just when the ship was expecting to round Cape Reinga for the leg home - WHY.. simply put they needed to be back for the next cruise to depart on Wednesday. - no efforts was made to inform anyone to allay rumours or talk which was rampant on facebook, text and mobile about reports on the cyclone in New Zealand, - the mobile network on the ship was not working for anyone we spoke to , only when we got to Vila did it work hence the panic by relatives at home who couldn't get hold of anyone after hearing about the weather conditions. - not a single apology or contact from P & O on our arrival home to talk about what happened, any offer in relation to the cancellation of the itinerary - instead of a ten days cruise to different places we got a ten days taxi ride to nowhere. - not a mention of the earthquake off the coast of Lifou which we got rung and told about.. this was supposed to be our next stop, when asked at reception they knew nothing of it.. strange? - since contacting P & O we find they aren't that committed to NZ, instead have front ed with a BIG ship, lots of hype and sales activity but if you want any help you must go to Australia who don't give a damn! Port Vila was a shocker! Passengers were basically fed to the wolves (taxi drivers) when you got off the ship, the yelled at you, pulled at your clothes and basically just wanted to rip you off... older couples were prime targets waiting to happen and P & O made not a single show of effort to ensure that people were protected from this shocking display at the port next to the ship .. absolute anarchy to say the least! We are reasonable people, would rather discuss issues and sort out, but if someone puts our kids through hell like this without a single apology or recognition of the fact that they need to look after their customers and communicate then they shouldn't be in the business of tourism. Royal Carribean are coming to the Pacific now, they will have our lifelong business from now on, they have courted us on their ship "Rhapsody of the Seas" that was in Auckland couple of weeks ago and they know how to run a business like this... customers matter! We don't care about the money, we don't want money all we want is recognition and discussion about what happened.. instead we are left completely ripped off to the tune of $12,000 (cruise cost), no holiday and a letter from P & O stating take your problem legal if you wish to pursue. Our request to talk with Anne Sherry the CEO of Carnival Australia has been declined. Travel with them at your own risk, maintenance doesn't appear priority (clearly since the large atrium chandelier fell several stories to the floor some three weeks - clearly weakened by our trip one would imagine.. fortunately no poor sole killed) YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Just returned from two weeks in the Caribbean on the Poesia. Never again. I will mention that some of what I'll write below was common discussion fodder with many, if not the majority of the people we spend time with on board, ... Read More
Just returned from two weeks in the Caribbean on the Poesia. Never again. I will mention that some of what I'll write below was common discussion fodder with many, if not the majority of the people we spend time with on board, but these are my personal experiences. I'm a relatively new cruiser, only 4 previous cruises under my belt, all with Holland America, and I'll stick with them. It was only a few days into the cruise that my wife and I both came to the conclusion, at about the same time, that regardless of the price, we would not stoop so low as to cruise with MSC again. Unfortunately, we still had another 10 days to endure. I read reviews ahead of time so I thought I was prepared for the food issues, but no. If you're a pasta lover, great, the pasta is cooked perfectly, as you would imagine on an Italian ship, otherwise, stick to the steak. DON'T stray to other things on the menu just because they seem interesting, you WILL be disappointed. And before someone jumps in to defend the Italian cooking, I've spend time in Italy, and there is no comparison. I suppose it might compare to some sort of 'institution' food in Italy, but that's not what I go on a cruise for. I suggest its best to stay completely away from the buffet. They used no sound abatement materials whatsoever and you'd have a hard time holding a conversation with those at your table over the din. Lunch buffet is burgers and dogs, or, as a kind woman pointed out to me a couple days in, on one side of the buffet they are making all kinds of interesting sandwiches. I headed over with interest to find a choice of runny egg salad slop, runny tuna salad slop and runny chicken salad slop... nice... I suppose that goes with the extremely watered down iced tea and orange juice,(only available in the morning, if you miss it, you're out of luck for the rest of the day.. or maybe that's good luck) The Asian and Indonesian room staff, general cleaning staff and dining room staff were terrific. The European office and head staff are atrocious... just like in Europe. Ship rules for the most part were completely unenforced. An example, the hot tubs. They are for 5 adults (and children over, I think 12, with an adult), and, although it shouldn't have to be said, those not in diapers... AT almost all times there were 7, 8 or more in each hot tub, many times all kids and MANY MANY times adults in there with their babies, in diapers... seriously. We didn't even bother after that. Also the reserving of deck chairs. It's very clearly stated that deck chairs are not to be reserved, but, as on every ship (and resort) I've been on, the deck chairs have towels on them from 7 in the morning until pool closing, most often left completely vacant all day except for a few minutes here and there during the day. The level of communication was abysmal. I didn't mind so much, as others have stated on these boards, about the multiple languages. They need to get information to people in their own languages and that's reasonable. But it's what they said that was so irritating. Nothing was ever clearly articulated, or at least not not in English. Again, I understand that I was on an Italian ship, but the cruise was marketed to an English speaking public and the vast majority of the passengers where English speaking. Either way, there is no excuse for inarticulate, confusing, misdirection in on board announcements. Leaving Ft Lauderdale we had two sea days, but the daily program, slipped through the door the first night, said we'd be in port the next day. Lots of confusion at dinner that night from people trying to arrange with friends and family the things they'd be doing in port the next day, except we'd still be 'at sea'. And when we did get to ports, the daily program gave almost mo information about the ports themselves. Yes, if one happened to wander down to the front desk they had an easel set up with a couple clippings of what to in port, but with 3000 passengers stopping in to these ports week after week, would it be so hard to put that information into the daily program? As for that program itself, forget using it as an event guide for each day, which it was undoubtedly designed to do. The information is scattered all over the four pages in random fashion and there seems to be no logic as to what is, or is not, included in the hourly schedule on the back page. If you had something you wanted to do or see, you needed to scour the whole program to find it, and then also scour the program again to find out if the timing conflicted with anything else. Bizzare. The scrolling text news channel on the TV DID NOT CHANGE for the entire two weeks., The in-room interactive TV information was often outdated, showing excursions for not just previous days, but even previous cruises. The library consists of about 100 books in English, (and an equal amount I suppose in a couple other languages), VIRTUALLY all are fiction, story books. If you're looking for something in a biography, or any other nonfiction book, you're out of luck. Cruise cabins are always smaller than you hope, obviously. We had a balcony which helped, but our bathroom's shower was the smallest I have ever experienced in my life. If you enjoy taking a shower with the flimsy shower curtain always sticking to you as you try to wash, this is just right for you! Safety-wise, there is no excuse for room service trays to be scattered about the hallways at all times of the day and night, as well as the cleaning equipment. So many time while negotiating the hallways in rolling seas we'd be having to step over the ever present interventionist of the vacuum cleaners A couple good notes, the ship was relatively new and spotless, (because they keep vacuuming!)and embarking and disembarking was a breeze! Of course, embarking was a breeze because of all the miscommunication. We heard MANY different time for embarkation, anywhere from noon to 4PM, we decided with nothing better to do we'd head over from our hotel at noon and were aboard, sitting in the lunch buffet, by 12:30 A small but annoying point, the main bank of elevators at the front of the ship, is four cars with two SEPARATE sets of buttons. I cant tell you how many times I saw people pressing one set of buttons and standing waiting while the other bank of elevators went up and down missing them. As for previous posters, yes, there were lots of children, and yes they were noisy and boisterous, but it was a cruise at Christmas time, so you have to overlook that. The ports of call were all short. I don't know if this is standard in the Caribbean as I've never been before, but getting in at 8 or 9AM and having to be all aboard by 4pm seemed rushed. It was if MSC had to pay extra to arrive early or depart later, yet the other ships we saw in port were often there well before us and still there when we left. In the Cayman's for example, people were still being tendered in, tender ticket in hand, at 11:30AM and last tender back was 3:30PM! I think I'm just ranting now so I'll sign off... J Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We booked this cruise as we felt it would be a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. We travel with two severely disabled young adults who are our children and have cruised many times, albeit, not with P & O. I have to state at the ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we felt it would be a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. We travel with two severely disabled young adults who are our children and have cruised many times, albeit, not with P & O. I have to state at the beginning of this review, that it is without a doubt, the worse cruise our family has taken. Firstly, I will highlight the good points. The cabins were good and kept totally clean throughout the cruise by our steward, who spoke little English, but was good at his job. Some of the reception staff were helpful and friendly, but some were not. We were allocated a table in the Peninsular restaurant, and, although we would normally use alternative dining due to my sons dietary needs and disabilities, we had to use the Peninsular as food in the conservatory was so awful! During our cruise, there were a number of Norovirus cases, and apparently, due to this, precautions were obviously taken with regards to stopping self service in the conservatory and Alfresco's. We do feel that if the use of hand gel had been insisted upon earlier in the cruise, this may not have happened. It always amazes us that some people absolutely refuse to use the gel that is there to safeguard them! We feel that if there was one member of staff allocated to making sure this was used, it would save problems in the long run. The food in the conservatory was dire. The choice was extremely limited and the themed dinner buffets made it useless to us as all food in there was spicy. The themes were Indian, Thai, Mexican, Caribbean, Country and Western, with no alternatives. We have never been on a ship where the is so little choice. Also, portion control was practised, which again, we have never had on any ship we have been on. This is the first cruise where 3 of our party has not put on any weight at all. On one occasion, I asked for some Cheddar cheese to accompany crackers in the conservatory. I was given a piece of cheese which was approximately the size of half a cheese triangle. I asked if I could have more and was told that was a portion. We accept that the staff had to serve the food due to the virus on board, but many dozens of people felt that P & O saved an awful lot of money on food during the cruise. We also appreciate that some people are greedy and take food they do not eat. This was not the case, the portions were minute. Alfresco was where we ate our breakfast most days. The staff were good, but again, portion control was practised. My son eats only soft food and so a cheese omelette was the perfect choice. The omelettes were thinner than most crepes and although he has a small appetite, we needed to go back for another omelette for him each day. We were served to one piece of bacon and half a tomato. Scramble eggs were being served by the half spoonful. The Peninsular was good and they tried very hard to cater for my children. I cannot fault them at all. As this was a Christmas cruise, we expected the atmosphere to be festive and the entertainment to match the season. This was absolutely not the case! After the first 3 days, I found myself apologising to my family for taking them away from Christmas. Even the staff were unable to disagree that it seemed Christmas was cancelled. On Christmas Eve, it seemed we may have Christmas after all. Santa arrived on deck accompanied by Christmas music. The choir sang and were really good. Later, the crew sang Carols, and the show, 'Jingle all the way' was very festive. Apart from church services, that's where it ended! Christmas day was a huge anti-climax with very little to do. The only difference to the normal days entertainment was that words were added, ie frosty shuffleboard, Rudolph carpet bowls etc. It was pathetic! Christmas dinner in the Peninsular was good and quite festive. I can truthfully say that I have never heard so many people saying that they couldn't wait to get back to Southampton. I am not just talking about the usual moaners that all ships have, but families and people who had travelled with P & O many times. We spoke to many, many people who felt this way and the staff were apologising for the lack of Christmas. I had people who were horrible to my children, which has never happened on any other cruise. I have never been so glad to leave a ship and return home and will never travel with P & O again. I will also not recommend them to family or friends. We feel we lost our Christmas Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I had always heard that Princess was a premier cruise line, but what we experienced on our Christmas cruise was nothing short of bottom of the line. We were one of the 113 cabins that had their LUGGAGE DELIVERED TO THE CABIN SOAKING WET! ... Read More
I had always heard that Princess was a premier cruise line, but what we experienced on our Christmas cruise was nothing short of bottom of the line. We were one of the 113 cabins that had their LUGGAGE DELIVERED TO THE CABIN SOAKING WET! Everything in our luggage was wet or damp and my formal silk dress was ruined! The cabin steward was slow to respond to our calls about the situation and after 3 calls to Passenger Services, he arrived to stand with his mouth open offering no advice or help. No one from passenger service or corporate ever contacted us about making amends! During the trip every call to Passenger Services took at least 6 rings before someone answered if anyone answered at all! Two of the 5 nights we ate in the dining room we had to get up from our table and hunt down our waitstaff as they would disappear during the meal. In addition to these huge problems, there were other small things that made their lack of customer service glaringly obvious: from the port security check to get on the ship took over an hour. The Princess employee checking in passengers was extremely slow and they held everyone up for id photos before boarding, but they only had 2 cameras for over 3000 passengers! The staff at the counter service areas, like the coffee bar, were rude and often would not say one word during serving us. Maybe a "Can I help you?" or a "Thank you"? Nope, just frowning. The food was average, the kids programs were nothing special, the elevators were slow and the pools were small, but I wouldn't have thought twice about things like this if only the customer service was there. It's the main feature I look for in any vacation. Next time I will use my money on a disney cruise where I have always found the employee to be stellar and the service to be top notch. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We received cruise as gift from Mom so I would be more MAD if I had to pay for this crap... EMBARKATION Got ride into NYC pier from family member... if you wanted to leave car at pier could cost $30 a day...Being Latitude ... Read More
We received cruise as gift from Mom so I would be more MAD if I had to pay for this crap... EMBARKATION Got ride into NYC pier from family member... if you wanted to leave car at pier could cost $30 a day...Being Latitude members, the line was relatively short and embarkation a painless process... BOAT As soon as you enter the boat there is somebody there already trying to sell you a drink(get ready for the nickel and diming to death)Entry in atrium is nice and boat is nicely laid out with many activities but a few years ago they did not charge for bowling w/c they do now and free meals only limited to dining rooms blue lagoon. Many rest. require an additional fee. CREW Mostly Filipino and maybe it is the way Norwegian pays their employees, compulsory gratuity or maybe it was b/c of the holidays but staff seemed inattentive, slow and uncaring for the most part. FOOD Garden grill has quick making grills ranging burgers, fries, sandwiches, soups, salads and deserts..pretty standard fare.. you get a little better quality, but you have to pay for it and it aint that much better... Cagneys(steaks and lamb chops) and LeBistro(French food, escargot, duck,foie gras). CABIN Unfortunately the cabin was and inside stateroom and with 2 adults and 2 kids quearters were pretty thight... it did not help that weather was cold the entire trip, swimming at your own risk of hypothermia, so when we wanted to chill, we got cabin fever really fast and felt compelled to leave. Also people smoking cigarttes and marijuana on our floors, called security, and told they have zero tolerance for drugs... unfortunately you cannot control other passengers behavior CRUISE DIRECTOR Robert Sugar... WORST cruise director... actually NONEXISTENT we've been on the Oasis of the Seas and had the pleasure to meet Richard Spacey who by far blew this guy away ACTIVITIES standard stuff, trivia, dance lessons, drink tasting but you still have to pay for stuff(see a pattern yet) SPA if you do need to go on the GEM spend the $100 for the spa w/c was our saving grace... therapy pool, sauna, steam and quiet place EXCURSIONS port canveral... Kennedy Space Center.. very cool to visit since it wont be around in a couple of years anyway Stirrup cay... would have been nice if weather was better... nice beach and nice barbecue... need a tender to get there Bahamas... aquairum at Atlantis but honstely also a big rip off.. you are probably better off going someplace else... felt like a second-class citizen when walking the grounds KIDS ACTIVITIES Tree Toppers... left our kids there on many occasions and they enjoyed their time there...entry and exit could run more smoothly but overall well run OVERALL DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY... If you like bad food, bad service and waiting in long, exasperaring lines this is the cruise for you... if you like to be with a crew that has NO clue what they are doing and feel that you basically have to fend for yourself... you will enjoy this cruise... needless to say we will NEVER cruise on Norwegian ever again... HAD been on PEARL and DAWN and they were great but quality has gone down SOOOO much...! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We went on this cruise with a very open mind after seeing it featured on Watchdog and reading many bad reviews. We took hope in the fact that the ship was going into dry dock for repairs and "refurbishment". How wrong we were!!! ... Read More
We went on this cruise with a very open mind after seeing it featured on Watchdog and reading many bad reviews. We took hope in the fact that the ship was going into dry dock for repairs and "refurbishment". How wrong we were!!! This was an absolute nightmare of an holiday,if ever a ship was wrongly named then this has got to take first place. The corridors stink and the carpets are filthy and threadbare. The walls are covered in big black marks were pictures have been hung and are no longer there. The lifts, (when working) stink and are of an hiddly piddly nature, you can go so far in one lift then have to get out walk to either the front or back of the ship to get another lift to continue your journey. Why don't you just walk up or down the strairs to get to where you want to go I hear you ask?? Because more often than not, the stairs are fenced off and you aren't allowed to walk down them. The aircon did not work in either the cabin or throughout the ship. Cabins of a good size but the bathroom dated and dirty, the bath comes complete with a permanent black scum mark all around it. Drawers extremely difficult to open. Work constantly being done whilst passengers are trying to eat. People allowed to smoke next to uncovered food causing smoke to taint food. Hygiene standards not maintained with regards to hand cleaning. I could go on and on but I would be here all day. This ship was not sorted whilst in dry dock, resulting in so many delays reaching our destinations. Until we actually left Madeira for the transatlantic crossing we were unsure if we would actually sail. The ship was sailing on one engine and limped to our destinations in Europe causing cancellations to excursions. There is a constant shuddering which can be felt throughout the ship, even lay in bed you can feel it through your pillow. I strongly advise anyone due to travel on this ship to think again and look to transferring to another ship. We have cruised with Thomson's previously and not experienced anything like this. I would never go on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date December 2010

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