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305 Repositioning Cruise Reviews

This was, without doubt, the worst holiday experience I have encountered to the extent that I asked the ships Customer Services Manager about being let off the ship in Brisbane. We suffered two weeks of beer swilling noisy and foul mouthed ... Read More
This was, without doubt, the worst holiday experience I have encountered to the extent that I asked the ships Customer Services Manager about being let off the ship in Brisbane. We suffered two weeks of beer swilling noisy and foul mouthed people, terrible overcrowding, endless queues, continual RCI bad management, disgusting food, untrained, un-interested and rude staff, highly expensive drinks and tours, lost luggage and a maze of scams and additional charges by RCI. This is not my first cruise or my first cruise with RCI and so I have a valid basis of comparison. I've detailed below a few of the problems on the ship for which I hold RCI responsible. We picked up the ship in Singapore on the 18th October 2016 and booked into the terminal at 12.00 noon. The scene was chaotic as you can imagine with so many people trying to board. Cases were simply left outside the front door of the terminal with no check in procedure. There were thousands of bags piled up in no particular order without any security measures being taken by RCI. No RCI staff were present other than the checking in staff who were rude and appeared un-interested. Bearing in mind the age of the vast majority of travelers, I was surprised that RCI made no attempt to offer refreshment, suitable seating or advice whilst the boarding process was ongoing. We boarded the boat at 12.45pm but some guests were still being boarded 5 hours later. We made our way to our cabin, we had booked a junior suite and found the room to be bright, airy and mostly clean with plenty of storage available. The balcony and room were sparsely furnished with uncomfortable furniture and the balcony had not been cleaned. The fridge did not work and the TV choice was poor unless you paid extortionate amounts for films (I think it was $12 per video) The bathroom was extremely small and there was no plug in the bath, the tap to the wash hand basin offered no cold water. The bath, sink,WC and shower curtain were stained and looked in need of refurbishment. Even in a junior suite there was nowhere to eat if you wanted to opt for room services or sit comfortably. The balcony was nice and private but the glass screen was so dirty you had to stand up to see over it if you wanted a view. There were tea and coffee facilities but in the room but we were shocked to find that only bottled water at extortionate cost was available. There was no cold water for drinking in the bathroom. We waited for several hours for the delivery of our cases and after many broken promises by RCI Customer Services staff and several hours in queue's and discussions on the phone, I went down to Level 1 and retrieved four of my cases at about 8pm. I was not challenged by RCI security staff at any time. I located the fifth and final case at 11.00pm on level 5 some 11 hours after I arrived at the terminal and this only by chance because I went to level 5 to complain, yet again, about my missing case. Throughout the process I saw no security of any of the guests cases whatsoever either in the ship or at the terminal and no attempt was made by any staff to help locate my luggage or confirm that my luggage was on board or help me transfer my luggage to my room. As a consequence the whole first day of the cruise was lost. I quickly learned that any RCI staff just were not interested and would lie and tell you what you wanted to hear just to move you away. Complaining by phone from the cabin was a waste of time because RCI staff just did not call back and you couldn't complain because you couldn't get through to the same person twice. I wasn't alone in having difficulties with my luggage, hundreds of people formed an endless queue at Customer Services throughout the first day trying to sort their own issues with luggage and there were some very angry and unpleasant scenes. We noticed during the first night that the ship was not following its advertised course this meant that we were on the seaward side of the boat throughout the journey. We had specifically chosen the port side of the ship to give us land views for the first half of the cruise, had we been known that the course was to be radically changed without any apparent reason we would have chosen a starboard cabin. There was no explanation or reason given for this course change, as always RCI guests were treated with complete contempt. Whilst I note RCI reserve the right to change its course for operational reasons, no reason or excuse was given. The self service breakfast and lunch restaurant, Windjammer, was like a works canteen with appropriately poor service. With old plastic plates and cups and dirty tables you can imagine the scene. The food was just about edible but was not the quality you would expect on a cruise ship. The queues for food were horrendous and there weren't enough tables. It's the sort of place I would spend all year avoiding and unfortunately as prisoners on the good ship Voyager we had no choice. I actually witnessed one waiter in Windjammer pouring the contents of used glasses of water into a water jug as he was clearing the tables, not at the end of the sitting but mid way. I dread to think what he did next. No wonder RCI suffer from so many contagious illnesses on its ships. When eventually tables were cleared, countless tables were being wiped with the same dirty cloth without any attempt to clean the cloth and no cleaning products of any type were used. This was the same for every one of the cleaning staff and on every occasion we had the misfortune to have to use this disgusting canteen. The food and service in the main restaurant was at best poor and at worst shambolic and by the end of the cruise the continued and persistent staff begging for additional tips was played out in front of no more than 50% occupancy. I've cruised a fair few times and I've never seen the 8pm sitting, on a full ship, half empty. Food was cold, late, tiny portions, not as described on the menu and of consistently poor quality. Guests were allowed into the restaurant in shorts and beachwear even on formal nights and the behavior was normally consistent with their attire. Our waitress could not speak English and we had no idea what she was telling us throughout the cruise. After 5 days at sea, the ship ran out of every bottle of wine on its meager wine list below $60 a bottle and despite several stops in Australia and assurances by the restaurant management RCI made no attempt to rectify this problem. I complained every day to the waiter, head waiter and floor manager and only on the last night of the 14 day cruise was the food bought out to us hot. Some of the food bought out onto our table was embarrassing not just to us but to the waiters who were serving it. The numbers of tables who had pretty violent rows with the restaurant staff grew over the 14 day period until most of the tables around us were empty. It quickly became evident that RCI are intent in squeezing every possible cent out of every passenger and this theme was drummed into the customer with such ferocity that there was disquiet on the boat throughout the cruise. I've never been on a holiday or cruise where the guests felt such ill will against the operator. The price of drinks was excessive, charges for everything conceivable were added to each bill, money taken from cards without authority, children of 10 years old allowed to gamble hundreds of dollars on their state room cards without parental consent or knowledge, excessive charges made for land tours. A few examples of such sharp practice:- $39 to tour the kitchens, $7 for a lanyard for the state room key, $2.95 for a can of coke, $7 for a small bottle of beer, land tours costing up to five times their local cost. I noticed people on drinks deals were given second rate drinks such as draught coke, un-branded wines, low quality beers etc. Despite paying $13.50 per day per person for service charges, 18% was also added to every bill for additional service charges. The constant begging by staff for additional tips was, to say the least, annoying especially as the service throughout the ship was so poor. We had four stops and two of them were tendered. On the first tendered stop RCI made such a mess of the disembarkation that people were still trying to get off the ship at 2.30pm, even though we arrived at anchor at 10.00am. The queue for re-boarding was up to 2hrs 30mins and then we were taken back through choppy seas in a small ships tender which was not a pleasant experience. The whole fiasco was caused by not enough externally hired large boats being organised to get people off the ship. If the ship holds 3,500 guests and you have boats each holding 250 people and the turnaround takes 1hr 20mins it doesn't take a genius to calculate the number of boats required to get guests on and off the ship in a reasonable period. The Captain, disingenuously blamed the fiasco on the Australian authorities, the truth is that RCI did not hire enough external boats, did not act quickly enough to put right its error and then did nothing for the people who were waiting for nearly three hours in the Northern Queensland afternoon sun without shade or water, many of whom were old and infirm. I saw the captain questioned about the tendering problems and he refused to respond when it was made pretty obvious to everybody in earshot that he had not told the guests the complete truth. Again it does not take a genius to work out that if you had problems getting 3,500 people off the ship with 4 large boats, the problems will be even greater if you try to board them back using just 2 boats. RCI did nothing to correct its error until the queue on the dock was over 2hrs long. By that time the 2 of the larger hired boats had been let go and we were left with ships tenders. On our return to the boat we were addressed like criminals by RCI security staff who showed utter contempt for passengers and we were herded like sheep from queue to queue until we got away from level 1. I was so annoyed at the way we were spoken to as we entered the ship (having waited nearly 3 hours to board) that I had an extremely heated discussion with the security operative operating the bar scanner. I honestly felt like I'd just arrived at Shawshank Prison for a ten stretch and fully expected dogs to be bought out to round us up. My wife was pretty distressed and felt intimidated by the constant searching and scanning and ID checks we had to go though and the aggressive security guards we had to deal with. This same scenario was played out on the second tendered stop although RCI provided desalinated water in glasses and cold towels for people in the re-boarding queue and provided four large tenders instead of two and used the ships tenders from the word go. The water they served in plastic glasses in Windjammer was desalinated and was pretty disgusting, forcing guests to buy $5 a bottle water. On disembarkation to the third tendered stop, 250 guests were lead down to level 1 and herded like sheep into the main services runway area and left for nearly 45 minutes pressed up against a wall. This is a restricted area for guests and not only was this extremely dangerous as it was in constant use by staff to transport materials about the ship but the smell of rotting food was appalling and worrying. We got no explanation why we were taken from the theatre so early and no apology was given. We were just pushed against one the walls and told to make way, this was 250 predominantly old people, some with walking aids unnecessarily crammed into an area in constant use. On the first day when I went down to level 1 to find my cases I was told that it was too dangerous for guests to be in the runway area and i was asked to leave. I asked the RCI representative who led us down to level 1 how long we would be kept in the runway area and he said "I don't know and it's not my fault, I only work in the theatre" This was a typical answer from waiting staff, customer services staff, staff handling the luggage, in fact all RCI staff. Despite the excessive profit made by RCI from the tours, it decided to cut short our trips to make up for its own failings in getting us off the boat in time. I travelled 11,000 miles from the UK to see Northern Queensland and was rushed from coach to queue and queue to coach on each of our three trips without having the opportunity to see the place. Even when we were docked the trips were cut short and we were rushed back to the ship an hour early in both Darwin and Brisbane. When I booked in at Singapore I was asked for a credit card to secure my onboard expenditure even though I wanted to settle by cash. Without authority and on a daily basis money was taken by RCI from my credit card without my approval and authority. When I first complained about the unauthorised withdrawal of funds the Customer Services operative laughed at me and tried to suggest that this was normal company policy. Eventually I spoke to the front desk manager and told RCI that if they did not stop this unauthorised withdrawal of funds I would report fraudulent activity on my card and have it stopped. No further withdrawals were made on my account until the final bill was settled. When I reviewed my final bill RCI had added numerous transactions without my authority and signature some of which had already been deducted from my account. I think a total of $640 was taken before I managed to stop it and when I enquired about a refund if I settled the agreed bill in cash I was told this would take place 7-14 days after the end of the cruise even though the unauthorised withdrawal had happened within hours of the expenditure. I have stayed in many top quality hotels throughout Europe, Asia, North and Central America and the Middle East and been on many cruises and this is the first time I have experienced this type of breach of trust in respect of credit cards. On the one occasion my wife and I used the casino, we had been playing blackjack for about 30 minutes and we had won about $50 and RCI put a dark suited manager behind us who stood inches away from us with arms folded presumably trying to be intimidating. We were extremely embarrassed but continued to play so the house then changed dealer who was immediately rude to my wife and so we walked away and cashed in our chips. Needless to say we did not return. The entertainment was appallingly bad, singers in the pub were excruciating, shows amateurish and comedians low quality and crude. RCI's spurious claims that the shows were award winning are disgraceful, these were amateur productions by amateur performers. We spent the day by the pool on one of the later days only to be confronted by a "belly flop" competition with the consequent screaming and pa noise, how classy was that??? What upset me most was that RCI has turned this ship into a floating Butlins camp with beer swilling, drunken, foul mouthed guests, nothing like my experience of cruising with this or other lines. I was appalled at some of the behaviour we saw both on and off the ship. I acknowledge that RCI is not responsible for guests behaviour but it is responsible for the environment which promotes these problems. Having dress codes and codes of conduct in the restaurants would help but the real problems were caused by having an all you can drink cost of $55 which meant each person on the deal felt obliged to drink at least $55 of alcohol per day. RCI has set the price of the all you can drink package far too high with total disregard to the non or light drinkers who have gone on holiday to relax, not to listen to rugby songs and avoid drunks throughout the night. On one occasion we walked through the casino after our dinner and there was a drunk women sprawled over the roulette table shouting, swearing and screaming. Needless to say we turned and walked out. Perhaps I'm an abject snob, but all I want is that my holiday is relaxing, the food is good and that I can have a glass of wine with my evening meal. I don't want to have to fight for breakfast or spend time complaining to get normal levels of service or fight a drunken mob to get a drink at night. I don't want to spend hours in unnecessary queues or be penalised because the operator is incompetent or to continually have to negotiate my way through the RCI money making scams. A couple on our table who we made friends with were in their 80's and they felt very frightened about being out of their room after dinner. We spent most of our time on the boat on our balcony reading because the rest of the ship was so unpleasant and crowded. on one occasion we tried to get a bed chair in the adult only section of the swimming pool area, we had to sit 25 yards apart because it was so crowded. I based my decision to cruise with RCI upon the many and varied claims made on its UK and USA websites. I enclose several examples of RCI's incorrect and exaggerated claims made about its cruises which in my opinion it has failed to honour or even attempt to honour to the extent that I consider RCI to be in breach of our contract and of English consumer law. I have made RCI aware of this matter but they have refused to comment on any specific allegation. I don't expect 5 star quality from RCI, that is clearly not their game, I do however expect RCI to provide the advertised service levels which formed the basis of our contract. My dealings with RCI customer service since I got back have been frustrating to say the least and after receiving an email which said they wanted to speak to me but only if I paid for a premium charged, international phone call I wrote to Adam Goldstein the CEO. I've now had a letter from RCI asking for arbitration, a surprising request after less than two weeks from my initial complaint. I feel an ambush coming. Bottom line folks, this is a deplorable, dishonest, down-market company intent on fleecing customers, lying through their teeth at every opportunity and giving guests a true Blackpool experience. Do yourself a favour and use another operator who show guests some respect. Mark PS. Australia is amazing UK Site RCI Claim "Everything you need to enjoy your holiday is included in the price of your ticket, making your experience truly amazing value. Of course, additional options can be purchased if you want those little extras" MB Response Since when does water constitute a "a little extra" RCI Claim "Enjoy countless incredible complimentary dining experiences during your holiday with each ship offering something different" MB Response Windjammers is an overcrowded works canteen with dirty tables, plastic plates and glasses and plain food. The main restaurant was half empty, food was cold and poor, wine list with no choice under $60 per bottle and service was chronic. That's two poor options, where does "countless" and "incredible" fit into this????? RCI Claim "With so many extraordinary activities on offer, you can tailor-make your Royal Caribbean holiday to be just as exhilarating (or relaxing) as you like. Head for the heights with the rock-wall, catch waves on the FlowRider, or make a splash in the H2O Zone water park. Or, if rest and relaxation is more your thing, retreat to our blissful Spa to pamper yourself from head to toe. With most of our activities free, you’ll always find fun for all the family onboard" MB Response View the classy "belly flop" competition in a Butlins type environment or hunt out a bed in the spa and spend the day 25 yards away from your partner because there are no beds together due to overcrowding. USA Site RCI Claim "And where else can you have fun doing as much or as little as you want, without having to constantly pack and unpack, or dealing with never-ending lines to attractions?" MB Response Whoever wrote this should have cruised on the VOTS in October 2016. On our trip to Port Douglas we spent just under 5 hours in queues on one day due solely to RCI incompetence. That excludes queues for food and drinks on board or queues at RCI Customer Services RCI Claim "Our unique style of service will enhance every aspect of your cruise. No matter where you are the pool, the dining room, the spa or your room – get ready to be wowed! And we deliver it 24 hours a day. This is way beyond normal service" MB Response I'm still waiting to be wowed by any aspect of RCI service, in fact I would say the service was at best 3rd rate. The only thing unique about RCI staff is that amongst cruise lines I've been on they are the worst, un-trained, constant begging for tips, rude, incompetent and treat guests with utter contempt. RCI Claim "Once onboard, you will enjoy dining options that are rich in flavor and ambience. Savor dish after dish of fine cuisine, casual plates and snacks prepared by our chefs in a variety of venues from deck to deck. See which dining venues are on your ship" MB Response Windjammers is an overcrowded works canteen with dirty tables, plastic plates and glasses and plain food. The main restaurant was half empty, food was cold and poor, wine list with no choice under $60 per bottle and service was chronic. I didn't have any food which was rich in flavour and/or ambience. If you want that try an Olsen or Costa cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The legend of the seas from Hong Kong to Brisbane.What a disaster.Nothing to like about this cruise.Food dry and tasteless,same unappetizing food in both the dining room and the Windjammer buffet.Cakes could be used as frisbies so dry and ... Read More
The legend of the seas from Hong Kong to Brisbane.What a disaster.Nothing to like about this cruise.Food dry and tasteless,same unappetizing food in both the dining room and the Windjammer buffet.Cakes could be used as frisbies so dry and rubbery .We had to climb into bed from the end as the was no side access.Toilet blocked up twice.Staff although friendly and did their job it was very hard to communicate as their English was very poor.As for the coffee, you needed to pay extra for a double shot so you could taste the coffee.Took my complaints to the Guest services manager who promised to get the food and beverage manager to contact me ,I'm still waiting.Also a 20 minute tender trip took 50 minutes as we waited with no airconditioning while 2 other tenders unloaded supplies.To top it off they left envelopes in the room for tips after we had already paid gratuities. Definitely would not cruise with Royal Caribbean again.Feel ripped off. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise for the ports and to disembark in Melbourne. The entertainment was poor with many walkouts. Activities during the day were repetitive and staff trying to sell you products. Very few lectures, information on ports was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports and to disembark in Melbourne. The entertainment was poor with many walkouts. Activities during the day were repetitive and staff trying to sell you products. Very few lectures, information on ports was very scant. The staff were great and eager to please. The tender process was poorly organised.Ship very tired, requires maintenance. Tiles off around the pool, smell outside lift on deck 7, no lounges on the promenade deck. Most lounges were uncomfortable. Happy hour from 3-4 in one lounge, too early and unmanageable not enough room for passengers to sit and chat. Menu lacked variety and at times food very tough. Library was non existent. Never cruise from Sydney to Melbourne the majority of passengers disembarked in Sydney. Princess sold cheap to anyone, the last three days were horrendous with drunks arguing with staff, swearing at passengers and making the last three days very unpleasant. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Destinations looked interesting However it was quicker flying from Gatwick to Venice than getting on this cruise with five different queues. Lets try Dinner - Over 1.5 hours to serve and that will be nearly 3 Euros for a bottle of water ... Read More
Destinations looked interesting However it was quicker flying from Gatwick to Venice than getting on this cruise with five different queues. Lets try Dinner - Over 1.5 hours to serve and that will be nearly 3 Euros for a bottle of water with your dinner and help yourself to ice. Lets try breakfast - cereals the packaging would taste better even with milk White toast because they will not turn up the toaster. On complaining I am told by the Maitre D lots of people like white toast. NO you cannot have poached egg in the buffet either because if they gave you poached egg some 150-200 other customers might want it!! After going through the toaster three times you could probably have sanded the deck with it. My wife ran a B and B for 22 years and NO one asked for white toast. Lets try Afternoon tea with Bulk jam and synthetic cream or carrot cake mix. Lets try The PARADISE Hamburger bar. Really catering knowledge here. Cook all the burgers in the morning and then microwave them for 30 seconds throughout the day. Cook the chips and then put them out in trays in the cold. Guess what cold chips. I did offer to assist the (Food and Beverage???) manager to change this as I have set up and owned a Burger Bar but this was ignored. You may think that people that have gone to PARADISE, even though it is a burger bar, would be happy, NO they are not. Ice cream, -Extra cost. Lets go to the theatre, - Some bright spark has come up with an idea to increase the seating, BUT because they are on the same level, the people behind can no longer see. Lets go to the library,- Sorry only eight English books available. Lets go on, no cannot be bothered That is why I called it the MARMITE Shipping Co (MSC) because you either loved it or hated it. WE hated it and will never go on MSC again.. The ironic thing is they send you a questionnaire to fill in and by doing so you may win a cruise. If we win watch E-bay Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I chose this cruise because we live in Vancouver and it would be a no hassle (airports) way to enjoy a leisurely much needed holiday. The first day should have been the omen that would tell us how the rest of the trip would work out. We ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we live in Vancouver and it would be a no hassle (airports) way to enjoy a leisurely much needed holiday. The first day should have been the omen that would tell us how the rest of the trip would work out. We took 3 hours to check in.. everyone had been instructed to leave because they had to sanitize due to abnormal amount of Nor walk virus.. Many many people got sick... The entertainment was one step above a school production, social staff clearly did not enjoy their jobs. The library was moved to the top level of the ship where they had exciting activities such as "Napkin Folding". Really? Food was mediocre ..Do not book a set table.. the dining room was very sparsely attended .. we had a table for 8 and NO ONE showed up most nights ... the staff offered no other options in terms of moving us to another table even after we asked. The sea was rough 10 meter waves etc. Not really the fault of the cruise line but some effort could have been made to reroute into calmer waters ( we sailed the Atlantic and the cruise company we sailed with avoided a huge storm by sailing out of it's path) The stabilizers even malfunctioned coming into Victoria. Bar and Wait Staff seemed harassed and worked very hard but didn't put any extra effort in ..an example of this was ..I ordered a drink and they had run out of the mix they needed but were to busy apparently to send someone to another bar for what was needed .. I honestly do not know how this cruise company functions... We will NEVER cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Please be patient in the reading of this comprehensive review which has taken a long while to compile due to the unwillingness of various sources to explain their actions (inactions) whilst on-board this cruise. Rather regrettably very ... Read More
Please be patient in the reading of this comprehensive review which has taken a long while to compile due to the unwillingness of various sources to explain their actions (inactions) whilst on-board this cruise. Rather regrettably very little input from Princess Cruises themselves to explain their failings has not helped and that their only offering of their ‘sincere apologies’ (5 times over in the same ‘reply) does tend to wears a bit thin! A recent ‘final twist’ should however prove to be to the added benefit of many cruise passengers when visiting certain Indian Cruise Ports in the future, saving them significant costs, time and inconvenience This was to be our 35-36th cruise (if you count the 2 sectors) and we are well used to making allowances for some operator failings and loss in our expectations. Earlier last year we had also completed a comparable 50 Night cruise on the P&O Arcadia, only our second P&O if discounting their former Ocean Village brand. We had hopes and expectations of Princess equaling or surpassing it but sadly it did not even come close. There were only 4 new ports of call for us, Phuket, Ko Samui, Bali and Busselton, all of which were to be tendered. Most of our cruises have been with Princess but our strong allegiance to the brand was to be sorely tested on this occasion. From the onset the now well-written about ‘Indian Visa Farce’, along with the multiple mis-management issues affecting most passengers, were so far-removed from the standards of customer service portrayed in the recent Royal Princess ITV cruise series. We had sailed on this ship in the Baltic for 14 N in 2014 and was brilliant. Lest we were to forget the positives of this cruise we did find the staff, away from the customer services desk area, to be excellent - in terms of their levels of service, engagement and their maintaining good eye-contact throughout the cruise! The freedom dining service within the Michelangelo Dining Room, along with that in the International Café; both located on the deck 4 as and our cabin; were also at their best. To be able to walk-around the ship on the promenade deck on this class of ship is an appealing feature for us. Sadly this is fast disappearing from current cruise ship designs In our early reading of the ‘Roll-Call’ for this cruise we had identified that there were many troubles and issues being raised in obtaining the Indian Visa, in a variety of countries – both in cost-terms and sheer frustration in form-filling, visiting VFS offices, etc. We know that Princess have delivered so much to us in the past, hence we have remained loyal to them. We can only hope that despite their unwillingness to formally accept constructive criticism from many more that, they will address these and other concerns already expressed to them. With our having been to Cochin twice before we drew those visa problems to Princess Cruises attention and sought their approval to being allowed to stay on-board ship without our having to purchase a visa – cited as being possible in some cruise passengers previously posted reviews. After 3 weeks deliberation they confirmed, that “all guests visiting India must have a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa. Visas must be obtained prior to the cruises and cannot be obtained onboard. Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices, these requirements will be strictly enforced and guests will be denied boarding if they do not have the correct visas on embarkation”. “You need to check with your travel agent or the government Authorities (VFS Global) and refer to CIBT (their preferred visa agent)”. Princess went on to REPEAT that “If you arrive at the terminal in Southampton without the relevant paper work then you will be denied boarding.” Faced with the latter ‘ultimatum’, were we not to adhere to their repeated directives and been refused boarding, we would likely be considered to be in breach of our (all?) travel insurance company’s cover. Like many more who would have preferred to have been given that same option, we felt that we had no choice but to get the visa - which both VFS & CIBT were also then recommending (advising?) as also being needed. The passenger mix on-board was far different to any of our previous cruises. For the first leg it was given out as the ship being Full – 3,028 Passengers with 1,405 – UK/ Ireland, 939 – Australia/NZ, 612 - USA / Canada We had also read on the passenger ‘roll-call’ that the cruise had been ‘over-booked’, as quite a number of them had received some amazing offers to stand-down. Some were being offered stand-downs during the cruise and as late as disembarking in Melbourne instead of Sydney. On the day of embarkation there was chaos and confusion at the check-in desks at the Southampton terminal. We subsequently learned that it was caused and compounded by conflicting directives being given by Princess Management to their personnel. Again, please excuse there being more details than I would normally wish to include in a review as it may help to fill – in some of the facts surrounding the circumstances of this ‘unique’ (all for the wrong reasons) cruise experience, to fellow passenger. The situations played-out at the Cruise Terminal can be summarised:- 1) Check-in staff had only been briefed that very morning to process all passengers without the correct visa documentation and to allow them to board the ship - but were to initially ‘fine-them’ £200 / $200?pp 2) One passenger we met was advised by Princess check-in staff that ‘over half’ the passengers were expected to arrive with the wrong visa or no visa at all and that the ship would be sailing half-empty and therefore the staff are being told to accept them for boarding”. 3) The check-in staff were later instructed l to drop those charges and to allow any further such passengers to check-in and to board. (those that had been ‘fined’ were re-credited). 4) Some of those passengers with no / incorrect visa were warned that they may have to depart the ship in Dubai and fly to Phuket and later rejoin the ship - which seemed most odd! 5) Others were told that their Cruise Cards would be ‘blocked’ so as to prevent them disembarking in India, which also seemed to be at odds with those ‘Dubai’ references. 6) Even the check-in personnel were openly questioning the indecisions and inconsistencies given by their own management team (Princess?). Princess had obviously not thought-through the significant consequences of making an extremely late decision - to effectively break / ignore their own ‘binding’ Contracted Booking Conditions - which they themselves had dictated and ‘imposed’ upon all of their fare-paying passenger’s. Least of all in their minds were the affects that their unilateral decision would have upon the vast majority of their loyal passengers – all those of us that, at some considerable cost(s) and time, had fully complied with those now very questionable Princess Conditions. A passenger we spoke with frequently (first-time cruisers), had met the Captain in the bar and asked him as to why all those passengers had been allowed to board. He was advised that, ‘because there were so many without visas; ‘upwards of 230’; it was felt that we could not leave so many in the port’ – ‘It may be that the Indian authorities will fine them $300 or so?’ Princess on-board management rather shamefully, chose instead to laud all the blame on to India for their having supposedly ‘changing of their rules – again!’ That was totally unfounded, as even CIBT (Princess recommended Visa Agents) have subsequently advised that there had not been any recent changes to India’s Visa requirements. Customer Services Supervisor when asked 10 days in to the cruise for the actual affected passenger numbers said ‘we do not know’ and 2 days later their Senior Manager was ‘not at liberty to divulge’. Neither would they clarify, then or since, those passenger numbers involved or as to why they had decided to breach their own conditions. Impressions were given of a major cover-up going on? With a further circa 300 passenger change-over in Dubai, references were made to most of those as not having a visa for India either. That may account to comments upon previously published reviews, referring to there being ‘several hundred’ without ‘the correct documentation’. As ‘converts’ of Princess to the benefits of their Freedom / shared dining (now adopted by other cruise-lines) this issue inevitably would get raised by someone during the table conversation at virtually all mealtimes. On a number of occasions we were also unfortunate enough to be witness to some of the shameful behaviour by staff Passenger Services members , who were disrespectfully shouting and / or talking down to passengers. Most distressing for those passenger and very upsetting for all those around the desk area at the times, including ourselves. Other passenger comments on this have also been previously aired in reviews. Immigration officials from India had boarded in Dubai and started their processing of visa checking the next day and were completed by the following afternoon. With immigration checks being completed the day before we were to arrive in Cochin a standard open-letter from the Princess Legal Department was issued to all cabins, seen as a belated attempt to try to defuse the situation. Passengers wishing to make claims were asked to ‘please reach out to a member of our Customer Relations staff upon your return home’. It also included 3 different e-mail addresses, one for the UK, Australia/NZ and USA/ Canada. Not to be interpreted as having taken benefit from their visas, there were 70 plus with correct visas not wanting to go ashore, ourselves included, elected to remain on-board - in the company of the ‘several hundred’ or so of those without ‘correct documentation’. We were also joined by large numbers of Indian families sampling the on-board bars and dining facilities Potentially, this should allow those passengers to reclaim the visa cost from Princess for their breaching of their own conditions - or so you may have thought! The UK & USA seemed to be given the ‘short-straw’ in that their e-mail addresses included ‘customer services’ as a prefix. Those of us from the UK seeking reimbursement of their visa costs from the UK have been advised to the effect “nor am I able to reimburse you for the visas you purchased”. Do not know what the USA passengers have since been advised? The Australian / NZ passengers were however assigned an e-mail address with a ‘claims’ prefix – but currently do not know how their claims have been dealt with either. This is not helped by Princess installing ‘firewalls’ between those 3 regions – to prevent cross-reading / interrogations of information including their differential pricings, etc. What has since been determined is that Carnival Group adopt a ‘Will be denied boarding ..without the correct documentation’ conditions wording (seemingly now only when it suits them?). However their P&O Australia brand independently conveys ‘May be denied boarding’ –in line with that conveyed by the RCI & Fred Olsen cruise line brands. Got to give it to the Aussies - they get to say it as it is! (They also remove fixed gratuity charges and insist £AUD on-board currency on cruises out of Australia - another lesson for the UK?) None of the cruise-lines, nor VFS Global and CIBT (+other agents?), elect to specifically cite and / or promote the Consulate General of India’s (CGI ) directive which confirms that there is definitely no need to obtain a visa if you remain on-board any ship whilst it is in any Indian Port. Only common-sense really, when most of the crew do exactly the same when the cruise ships are in port. Why therefore should passengers be discriminated against by Princess (+ other cruise lines?) Instead Princess attempt to thwart those same Indian Statutory rights from being recognised, for their own fare-paying passengers - by adopting a form of ‘weasel words’ to try to convey otherwise? At the time of this cruise Princess had included a reference in the Cruise Personaliser; only readable via your insertion of a bespoke passenger booking reference number; that read “Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices“– (this has however since been removed from their current cruise conditions – see later). Both VFS Global and CBIT have repeatedly failed to advise applicants of that same very clear CGI directive. More recently and rather selectively both of those bodies’ had no such problems in their recognising and passing-on to applicants the recent directive issued by CGI to increase the price for the Indian Tourist Visa by a further £10. Particularly for the benefit of those who also experienced this cruise I paste here a post-cruise ‘explanation’ offered-up by Princess. Not only does it differ to that conveyed in a separate e-mail from ‘them’ (Carnival), it is also at odds with the content of their own letter issued some 2 weeks in to the cruise to all those passengers registering formal complainants (presumably in an attempt to try to diffuse the situation?). Fact versus fiction you may say – “As explained during your cruise, the Indian Immigration Authorities decided that as they had allowed one couple to board without the required visa, they decided others would be permitted to do so as well, but would not be permitted to go ashore in Cochin. This meant those guests who decided to not purchase a visa prior to travel were allowed to board on immigration officials agreement, as opposed to being denied boarding as would normally be the case.” Compare that with, thirteen days in to the cruise – those passengers with no / incorrect visa had still not been notified officially of being able to stay on ship without incurring a penalty etc. for their doing so (confirmed by the Customer Services Desk). Also at that time Princess were still awaiting feed-back from the Indian Immigration authorities, as to whether those with no visas / incorrect visas would even be allowed to even stay on the ship’. A number of those we spoke to ‘without visas’ were still worried that they may have to disembark in Dubai – poor communications to them by Princess and so long after leaving Southampton! The 80-90+% of passengers that had complied fully with Princess Cruises conditions; paying sums which varied greatly between £250 to $1300 per couple (for the sake of an 8 hour stop in Cochin) had not been given any thoughts or respect they deserved by Princess. On the face of it, those passengers allowed to board without having laid out any expense (money and substantial time, etc) for an Indian visas were effectively made in to ‘winners’ - entirely due to Princess not invoking their own Conditions with them. They were not fined as some of them had expected to be. However, an e-mail between one of those passengers without a visa dated the 30.08.16; to / from the CGI (Consulate General India) Birmingham office; was presented and copies made and readily circulated as proof by them that they had personally done nothing wrong. They had merely exercised the very clear and precisely conveyed option, granted to ‘a foreigner’ to remain on board (in any Indian Port) without there being a need to obtain a visa. CGI are the very body that regulates Indian Visas (VFS Global are only their bespoke visa handling agents). That CGI e-mail statement has since been independently validated, along with the same information from their Visa Support Centre, that states:- “A transit /regular visa is not required by a foreigner who does not leave the ship while it halts at an Indian Port. In case a person desires to leave the ship during its halt at an Indian port, he/ she may be allowed to do so on a temporary landing permit not exceeding 3 days. Please refer the link http://boi.gov.in/content/temporary-landing-permit for information on the same.”……. Etc. This tended to put the blame fairly and squarely back on to Princess’s own shoulders. Seemingly the likes of both VFS + CIBT + other agents (?) were all too readily to have ‘supported’ them, however all make their living (money) out of the selling of Tourist visas. Despite this very specific information being re-presented to all of them, up to 12 weeks ago they continued to be in denial of that being an alternative option to buying a visa. Princess however still wanted to maintain that their ‘passengers will be denied boarding etc…’stance. VFS Global when pressed quoted that “You need to check with the Cruise Company as it all depends on their requirements”! Princess of course originally contended “I hope that you can understand Princess Cruises have no influence in this (VISAS)”. Had Princess decided to adhere to their own rules for this cruise, it is not difficult to work out that they would have potentially lost-out upon a 10 -15% benefit from their on-board spend, expensive excursions and their ever-increasing gratuities. Could it be the ‘$ker-ching’, factor had ruled their heads? This is the first Princess cruise that we have heard of some USA passengers exercising their right to sign-out of the daily gratuity charge. What message does that send- out I wonder? I subsequently put to Princess Cruises a number of simple but pertinent questions. In-keeping with everything else presented to them, they have declined to answer. Examples :- Would Princess expect 230+ - 500+ (subject of Princess Ratification) individual passengers to turn up for the cruise embarkation (in Southampton + Dubai) with no India Visa? Would all those passengers have independently risked contravening / breaching of Princess’s Booking & T&C’s and thereby render their own Insurance covers null and void, had they not been given professional advices that they could stay on ship? For Princess check-in staff to have been given conflicting advices by their management on allowing those with no visas to board the cruise; in direct conflict with the Princess’s own conditions; Princess management must have somehow ‘gleaned’ some time beforehand that there would be a major problem on that day concerning visas and how could they have known? By now it was getting to feel a bit like ‘Miss Marple’at this point? PRINCESS HAVING A ‘PREVIOUS HISTORY’ Princess have been asked repeatedly to confirm any of their cruise ships that have ever refused boarding, solely for their not having the correct visa documentation - at the time and since and have failed to do so. Had they done, it may well have served to quash the matter as it would likely have been verifiable from past posted cruise reviews? Princess have however seemingly ‘pulled the same trick’ on their much smaller Pacific Princess World cruise only 2 years ago – see:- http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2229888&page=19 – shelldo1 2.11.16. This only serves to convey contempt for the opinions of their loyal passengers, adding to the already loss of faith and trust that we personally now have of Princess as a leading cruise brand. Our lesson learned is to never believe what Princess Staff tell you whilst on-board, as seemingly it counts for nothing, even if you record them! It is as though no-one in the Princess organisation is willing or expected to take ‘ownership’ and / or responsibility for their own repeated serious staff-failures. Their important Information messages - about Visas, Passports, etc., instead of being conveyed on the front page of the Princess Patter, were only being presented on the Wake Show. Only a small percentage of passengers find the time to watch and on this cruise was further compounded by the frequent time-zone adjustments. 4No. ‘Serious Messages’ were conveyed by the Customer Services Director for the morning of the 24th October- two days after Cochin (had been pr-recorded hence was worded for the day at Sea after Cochin). – See https://youtu.be/EP4mFEEjlZE - 24.10.16 – Item 4of4 which conveys:- “The last ‘serious’ -I want to talk about on the Wake Show is the Visa Issue with India. As you know we have had a Lot of Passengers upset about the India Visa situation. We do know, we do understand. We have sent a letter to your cabin that the Corporate office is dealing with this and I wanted everyone to know a little bit of follow-up”. We had a huge meeting yesterday. Corporate officials flew in from Santa Clarita.” We met with the Chief Immigration and the Chief in Charge of the Ports as well to discuss all the issues that we have with them this cruise, including the onboard issues and some of the visa issues, some of the face to face issues - a lot of various problems. Ah, they know that, they understand that, it is being discussed still.” I am sorry there is no outcome that I am going to be able to give you – this year!” It is something India is slowly working on and trying to fix and at this point I can let you know to watch the near future and see what happens” Princess Cruises have been frequently requested to explain what that message was all about but have declined to do so. So why then did they choose to have put-it-out on TV if Princess (?) and their passengers would not understand it? My perception is that crew members are normally allowed ashore without themselves or Princess having to ‘buy’ a visa for them and that on this particular occasion the ‘local port authorities’ were creating difficulties for them – possibly because they had lost-out on the income from those visas? - See what you can make of the video clip! Tendering - On the same Wake Show / video, another of the CR Director’s ‘Important Messages’ concerned a decision to suspend / cancel priority tendering for Elite Passengers. This seriously questions their skill of basic maths, with 900 Elite out of 3000 passenger (30%) being determined by them as - “ So, as you know as an Elite passenger we normally have priority tendering we can do in some ports unfortunately that’s almost the whole ship so unfortunately we will not be having an Elite tendering lounge for our tendering in to Thailand”. Passports – The taking and late returning of passports was also farcical and rather irresponsibly executed on the part of Princess. They had recently decided to adopt a system whereby the cabin stewards are charged with collecting your passports at various set times, but do not give you a receipt card for them - as normal practice (still common practice on other cruise-lines?). Rather hypocritically of their system, the steward has to get a passenger’s signature each time they return the passports to the guest’s cabins- why different? An added role and responsibility for already over-worked cabin stewards you may think? – Good guess may well be it reduces staffing costs and does not cost the company? Their CS Manager subsequently explained that it is part of a ‘new Princess System’, introduced earlier in the year "in order to save paperwork”! When mentioning the unnecessary nightly junk-mail in our box to him – he rather flippantly responded with ‘that is another department sir’. I also reminded him that there are some very expensive visas inside most passenger’s passports (ours also having the even more expensive 2 Year China Visa). Their ‘new system’ however effectively places their passengers in breach of most, if not all, of the UK Holiday Insurance Company’s T&C’s. It also conveys that Princess are being rather ‘cavalier’ when it comes to the safeguarding of their guests personal and ‘intellectual property’, data etc. The need to obtain a receipt when parting with your passport has been mentioned several times on recent UK Holiday and consumer TV programmes as a ‘savvy tourist -reminder’! Yet another blinkered obsession of considering only their company interests ahead of their passengers when looking at cost-cutting! As one passenger has already posted on this site - “On the last day of the cruise the cabin steward was giving back our passports they were stacked on his Trolley for anyone to touch …………. A bit lax to say the least!” - Wood, Leeds http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/princess-cruises/emerald-princess/read-review-114479/ Re-boarding the ship in Singapore, our passports were again collected, only this time from inside the Terminal bridge link to the ship (no receipt given!). The Customer Services manager advised that they had to account for all of the passports as a Port Authority pre-requisite to leave the port and for Princess to ‘scan- them in’(?). About an hour later, the Captain came over the PA system, apologising for the delay to departure – as they were still missing 19 Passports which were “preventing the ship from leaving the port”. Some passengers were obviously rather more assertive in holding on to their passports with no receipt than we were? As Princess do not seem to want to know about this serious flaw; assuming of course that they intend to continue with it; I would advise taking your passports to the desk (on those stated collection dates) and insist that they give you a receipt for them. Another bit of cost-nibbling to watch out for is the free internet minutes available to Captains Circle members, Platinum and above. The threshold for the 500 minutes free package coming-in has recently been raised to 21+night cruise durations (from 17). The 250 minutes is still however a nice ‘loyalty reward’ to derive benefit from. Also look out for changes to their Future Cruise Deposit (FCD) forms which do not now benefit those passengers without internet access / skills. The option for passengers to be issued with a hard-copy confirmation (to your cabin) has been withdrawn so you can now only receive one by e-mail. The FCD is also no longer useable on future cruises over 45 Days duration (replaced by a supposed 3% price reduction?) – All this is in the very small ‘Specsaver-proof’ print included on the form. A widow-friend on-board had no e-mail address (then) but had been assured by the FC consultant that she would receive a hard-copy confirmation for the 2 further future cruise credits she had recorded on her form. No hard-copy was ever received. Although her credit card had been debited for 2 some three months later her TA advised her that Princess had only credited her with 1. Her companion, who had not even filled in a form for any FCC, had her credit card debited £75 for a single FCC. These are very basic errors and although since corrected, you may wish to carefully check your own Princess particulars on their web-site and upon your Credit Card statement in the future. Feeling reticent about taking out a further FCC it was late-on in the cruise that I tried to drop off our own form with the FC consultant but she was always busy. For the very first and last time, I decided to use their drop-box service. I had taken a photo of the form and only when I had not received an e-mail confirmation did I open the photo file and noticed that, whilst I had completed and signed the form, I had failed to insert our cabin number (my error). Being no hard-copy confirmations issued whilst you are still on-board ship allows them to process these forms post- cruise. However they cannot subsequently ‘manually’ rectify any missing or incorrect details, as indeed common-sense may have otherwise dictated if processed on-board? They are also adamant that this cannot be done retrospectively either. Had it been missing from a form for a cruise excursion I would imagine that someone would have had the ‘nouse’ to have obtained a cabin number? As things have panned-out since, with Princess being in denial of their staff failing or decisions, we had no plans to risk them again in the foreseeable future. Rather disappointing to experience that Princess standards had fallen so fast on this particular cruise, particularly when our recent experiences of ‘sister companies’, on bothP&O and Cunard, they have managed to have ‘upped-their-game’ and standards!. By Princess not wanting to take ownership / responsibility for their own personnel failures and management decisions I can now relate somewhat to the judges cover-up summation in the $40m 'magic pipe' case in which Princess Cruises were given a record fine for dumping waste at sea. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/02/the-40m-magic-pipe-princess-cruises-given-record-fine-for-dumping-oil-at-sea Entertainment Always subjective in terms of personal likes /dislikes and by our past experiences we have found that Princess usually manages to strike it somewhere ‘in the middle”. For the first 10 days or so the main shows were pretty good but then, apart from the odd exception eg. Jo little, they failed to impress many. This showed itself by the drastic fall-off in audience numbers, particularly for the late shows. The Princess show-team were judged by many to be below average, even resorting to miming songs on some occasions. Daytime activities were much the same, poor by any standard. If you strip-away the potential revenue- generating activities of spa treatment, therapy ‘demonstrations’, art auctions, ever-expensive bingo etc there was not much left. Carpet bowls, croquet (infrequent) and the like were all-over-the-place in terms of venue(s) and / or timings. Even the Champagne (fizzy water?-cheap) hoop-la started off on deck with 6 bottles (to be ‘hooped’). This was later replaced to 4pegs to be ‘hooped’ – best of 3 go’s - with only the one bottle prize when brought indoors (most days). Health & Safety gone mad they say – another cost-cutting scheme more-like? The first mention of Remembrance Day was in the Patter & the Wake Show for that very morning - mentioning the Service 11/11 held in the theatre - even the organisers were taken-aback as it proved to be standing room only. There was no pre-selling of poppies either and with their bringing forward the auctioning off of the Navigational Chart 3 days to that same afternoon we had expected the proceeds would have been donated to the Poppy Appeal (as P&O do). The $1,100 approx was however allocated for a Princess Charity. Has supporting the war-dead and associated charities now become yet another victim of being too ‘PC’? I trust that this additional information has served to enlighten those who experienced this cruise and that it may ultimately bring-about a change to Princess’s approach to their cost-cutting programme. Likewise, consider changes to the Indian Visa situation and to assist those when contemplating their future cruise itineraries, with Princess and / or other cruise lines. And now for the Twist - Indian Visa ‘breaking news’:- I am very surprised that this significant change has not been presented in the Main Tourist Media. From the 1st April 2017 the Indian High Commission (HCI) / Consular General of India(CGI) have included 3 ports (Cochin, Goa & Mangalore) to their on-line e-Visa system. Previously this was just for airports and effectively reduces the cost to $50 US pp - reported by initial users as being issued in circa 3 days. You can now find the instructions for an e-visa in the following web-site link - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html Their site information, responsibly and commendably, even warns of the on-line search engine risk of sending you to the wrong site link, by virtue of – “It is advised not to believe or fall in trap of any such unscrupulous elements who claim speedy/express grant of e-Visa and charge money for it” Recent access to the Princess Cruise Personaliser (only accessible after booking a cruise and then using a booking reference) for the current Majestic Princess cruise visiting Cochin in June17 has revealed that Princess have now made some very significant changes to their own Conditions - relatively ‘on the quiet’! It would seem that it had been re-compiled prior to the 1.04.17. and had already removed their previous conditions that we had cited to them as being potentially inequitable, namely:- “Irrespective of any advice obtained from the various India High Commission offices, these requirements will be strictly enforced and guests will be denied boarding if they do not have the correct visas on embarkation.” Likewise they had replaced their “Must have a multi entry Tourist Visa” with “staying onboard or going ashore require an Indian visa”. However, being compiled prior to the 1.04.17, this should be subsequently reworded as it is now negated by the introduction of the eTV for Cochin. Likewise the CGI (+HCI) statements should also now be automatically recognised / accepted (whereby the alternative option of staying on-board, without the need for a visa is an Indian statutory entitlement) Conversely, still included was an addition of “Please note that a regular Tourist visa is required; the Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV) is not valid for cruise passengers” as this would also now become redundant - by virtue of the introduction of the e-TV ie, for all cruise ship arrivals / departures for the current 3 ports of Cochin, Goa and Mangalore. However it took Princess 26 days in to April before formally ‘recognising’ this eTV change. This was done by notifying their passengers by e-mails (+ by respective Cruise Personalisers), however they can still be considered rather ambiguous and misleading by their very wording:- “Please be advised that the visa information for India has recently been updated on your voyage. Most nationalities require a visa for India if staying aboard or going ashore and it must be obtained in advance. Electronic Tourist Visas (eTVs) are now available for visitors entering India via the Cochin Seaport. We do not recommend eTVs for guests going ashore on Princess excursions or independent tours, as processing time at the port may be lengthy and we cannot be responsible if you miss your scheduled tour due to immigration delays.” Effectively, they are advising passengers; despite the much cheaper and easier to obtain eTV being valid; to obtain a full tourist visa at a cost £135- £260 pp (UK) for Princess to be able to guarantee that passengers can take, or rather make, their normally more expensive tours - preferring that their client’s should pay out a further £95-£220 more pp for their 8 hour stay? Wow! This comes across as ‘a really big-ask’ of their passengers (see later Cochin port advices). Princess still do not convey that you do not even need any Visa for any Indian Port if you were to chose instead to remain on-board ship as reaffirmed by both the official Consular General / High Commission of India confirmations That was even the case before and post 1.04.17. It has even been further reaffirmed by CGI / HCI after the 1st April by both those parties (and now endorsed by VFS since):- 1. A transit /regular visa is not required by a foreigner who does not leave the ship while it halts at an Indian Port. 2. In case a person desires to leave the ship during its halt at an Indian port, he/ she may be allowed to do so on a temporary landing permit not exceeding 3 days. Please refer the link http://boi.gov.in/content/temporary-landing-permit for information on the same. 3. Else, you may apply for an e-Visa which is valid for entry through 3 designated seaports (i.e. Cochin, Goa, Mangalore). The validity of e-Visa will be 60 days from the date of arrival in India. This is also verifiable should you wish to do so via these UK e-mail address links:- info.cgibirmingham@gmail.com - Consulate General of India Birmingham (CGI) info.london@hcilondon.in – High Commission of India London (HCI) (similar offices in other countries I suspect?) This ‘remain onboard’ entitlement applies to any Indian port (not just the 3ports accepting the eVT) and is applicable to ‘any foreigner’. VFS Global have now finally accepted this to be the case (despite there being no commission for them). This followed on from their failure to advise an applicant ‘post 1.04.17’ of the e-TV change or the remain on ship /no visa option, and their subsequent confirmation:- “However considering the fact that the Consulate General of India in Birmingham has advised you otherwise. We will raise this with the concerned authority and resolve this urgently for the benefit of our applicants and update our teams accordingly. In the meanwhile we will suggest you to please follow the instructions provided to you by the Consulate General of India, Birmingham”. With the availability of the significantly lower cost and ease in obtaining the new eVT this should now become less of an issue. Those with limited physical abilities and those of us who have been before may opt to save upon unnecessary expenditure. Although it has proved very difficult to get these points across to a number of the various parties over these last six months, it now seems that such persistence has gone some way to produce a significant change. Future cruise passengers should derive significant benefits from these changes, hopefully for many years to come. Or to put it another way - based upon 3,000 passengers; using the UK data; this could now potentially save cruiser passengers an average of £95 - £220 pp = £285 – 660K ($370 - 858K US) per ship! If only Princess were to be more transparent and clear and precise as the Indian Authorities have now proved to be! Their ambiguity only serves to confuse and disappoint. Americans who are offered the option of a 10 year full Indian visa may however wish to consider the individual longer term benefits to them. Apparently the Princess Cruise Personaliser for China is still insisting upon a double-entry visa, even though this was in fact superseded by a 2 year multiple entry visa back In January 2016 in the UK and almost doubled the price. We can only hope that Princess can somehow start to turn things around and begin to act upon genuine well intended customer feed-back? Happy Cruising. Ports of Call Tips Civitavecchia –Have visited here many times. Port shuttle coaches now drop you at a coach terminus which is further from the station for the trains in to Rome (10 Euro return) – now a 20 Min walk . At the coach terminus we noticed there were min-buses waiting with wi-fi facility for 20 Euro pp return journey in to Rome. Naples – Our having done Pompeii, Herculaneum and Amalfi coast ‘to death’ we tried one of the underground Walking Tours – particularly good if the weather turns. The one we did was Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground) only 10 Euro pp and took just 90 minutes to do, Others include the Catacombs. Those who did Capri by hydrofoil reported as being too rushed and very busy. Messina – Previously done the Godfather tour + Coastline & Etna (all good).A showery day so this time we opted for a leisurely walk in the town taking in the Messina Cathedral’s Musical Bell Tower at 12 noon. There were plenty of taxis at the port gates with really good value alternative tour options available. Suez Canal – A perfect sunny and mill-pond like waters transit. Narration of the points of interest over the PA was quite informative. Aqaba (Jordan) – Petra tour is a must if not done before. Whilst not cheap, those who did it independently as a group reported their experiencing more and their’s being far better value than the ship tour. The Waddi Rum experience also had good feed-back from those who did it – one for us next time around. There was no visa charge made nor was there a $25US admin fee levied (as was conveyed in the Princess Cruise Personaliser)! A free locally arranged transit port shuttle bus service was provided in to the town terminus and tourist centre where taxis and open-top Ho-Ho tourist bus connections were available Dubai – Do not rely on any references to a ‘Free Shuttle’ as this was a ‘no-show’ - despite the Wake Show announcing there was a service and the Reception Desk ‘making-up’ times when asked. Just take a taxi (cheap) to Dubai World Trade Centre from where you can either walk to the Souk and / or catch the underground to the elevated mono rail to the Burj Khalifa etc. (Pre-book the tower on –line beforehand – circa 16:00 is good (if time allows) to get the sunset as well). Make sure you use the official metered cream coloured Dubai Transport Corporation taxi cabs (pink trim have female drivers). Cochin – The presentation was for us to arrive in to the ‘new terminal’ but the day before it was changed back to the former ‘coal-yard’ berths. They had however managed to tidy it up a little in 6 years and aligned a fair number of Gazebo covered stallholders to screen-off – as we looked down from the ship! If you choose to purchase the eTV /visa and go ashore try the tuk tuk’s – far better experience than any tour. You see more, interact with the lovely locals and it is so cheap. We were told by those that took them that inside the port they were $25US but outside the gates $10US (2-seater) Phuket – Berth was changed to a deep water port and tendering in – shared with an RCI ship. The tender now dropped you some 5-6 miles distance from the town but there were no shuttle buses (free or pay) laid on. The advised 45 minute tender transfer times - turned out to be 15min out & 20 min on return. Port talk gave out false information – ‘you will get ripped off by taxis’ but, as others have commented, it seemingly just got rid of their unsold tours. Not surprisingly the 3 hour tender-wait was to prove very off-putting for some! Taxis were accommodating and cost less than made-out. Singapore – Having done 3 end-of-cruise stays here and this our second port of call we have done all the popular venues ( Sentosa Island, Ho-ho buses, gardens, even Universal Studios, etc) ‘to-death’. Visibility permitting I would recommend the top of Marina Bay Hotel for the best and varied iconic views. Costs of drink and dining-out seem to have risen sharply in 18 months – as some now liken the Singapore Sling at Raffles to ‘taking on a mortgage’! A walk from the cruise terminal to the Marina Bay Centre, to burn off some of those added-calories – took us approx 1 hour (If tempted to do, keep to the RHS pathway leaving the terminal to pick up on road crossing points). Taxi return was 10 minutes and cost us only $5 SGD ($3US). If at Peak traffic times / costs may vary as the city congestion charge is triggered on the meter. Princess made a charge of $8US pp each way for their organised shuttle bus! Laem Chebang – Princess Shuttle bus was laid on in to Pattaya at the seeming ‘standard $8US each way pp’! If doing again we would consider share / negotiate taxi from the port to see the sights en- route in to Pattaya - as some passengers opted to do. Bali – The CS Director came on the Wake Show to say that Bali was dropping the Visa charge claiming the Bali (Philippines) web site was wrong! The web-site was always correct as there never was a charge. Even their Princess Cruise Personaliser had conveyed the same, but also referred to a Princess $25 admin charge which was not levied or referred to– More proof that Princess are literally ‘all-over the place’ with their conflicting Visas advices. https://youtu.be/MJrujPZ2ZG0 - 2.11.16 Benoa / Bali - This venue was really talked-down by the port-talks advisor who gave out scares of high risk of malaria , bag snatchers, muggings etc leading to a number not wanting to risk it (my wife included). Fortunately she relented so we went ashore with friends and thoroughly enjoyed the town and taking a couple of beers on Kuta beach. Tender transfer time was only 15mins not the 40 that was given out! We shared a taxi from Benoa to Khuta Town / Beach (12-13km) – Port-controlled taxi outward was $25US. The return fare from town was only $15US . Princess shuttle-bus with a set time out and return was a staggering $49 return pp! https://www.whatsinport.com/Bali.htm Plans are afoot for the construction of a New Cruise Terminal (berth?) to take 3 ships for 2018. Freemantle – Our second visit here. First-timers, consider an ‘On Your Own option’ - Prison Tour (from $17AUD), free local shuttle bus service laid-on in to the town (walk-able) + a free circuit bus service from town out to the beaches which runs continually during the day. The Round Tower (donation box) and the Little Creatures Micro-Brewery (even do samples). There are also frequent trains in to Perth (20mins travel time) with station just 10 mins walk from ship. Busselton – This was really talked-down badly by the tours advisor; resulting in a fair number, not wanting another long tender crossing (15mins again not the 40 given out!); deciding to give it a miss. Others had suggested again that this was a likely a tactical ploy to get rid of unsold tours? Recent Cunard cruise conveys it to be “surrounded by calm waters and white-sand beaches is a family friendly town that has lots to do for everyone” ‘An absolute gem’ of a stop, noted for being home to the longest wooden jetty (pier) in the southern hemisphere, stretching almost 2 km out to sea. The locals were very warm and welcoming. A nice stroll in to the town but a free local bus was laid on for those that preferred. Display of vintage cars, Craft Stalls, historic court-house / prison cells (free access). There was even a reasonable selection of shops & supermarkets for the size of the places, with local pies + fish and chips proving to be too tempting to resist for many of us. Melbourne – This was our third-time port of call here and arranged to meet-up with relatives. Good Tourist advice provided in the Terminal Building which also serves the ferries service links to Tasmania. There is a convenient tram-link from the port in to and around the city. There is so much to see on-foot in the city that a tour, for many first-timers, may be a waste of money for agile passengers amongst us. Was a shame that we had to depart the port so early for Sydney. Sydney – A very early morning entry, mostly under a full moon with cloud. The Emerald was the largest cruise ship to have berthed here – only to be ‘trumped’ a month later by the RCI Ovation of the Seas. An announced fireworks and tug fire-sprays reception failed to live up to the hype but the iconic entry in itself did not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 34 cruise since 1991 and the third on Celebrity. To say it was a disappointment would be and understatement. The food which is why everyone cruises was in the poor category. They have now come up with new names for items on ... Read More
This was our 34 cruise since 1991 and the third on Celebrity. To say it was a disappointment would be and understatement. The food which is why everyone cruises was in the poor category. They have now come up with new names for items on the menu but the food overall in tasteless and unappealing. For the first 3 nights there were very few wines to choose from as they were out of most items on the menu. There were 4 nights in a row where there was some type of chicken rollatini on the menu. Now on the left side of the dinner menu they have steaks and lobster available for an up-charge from $17 to $32 if you do not like the evenings offerings. The specialty restaurants have similar food to the dining room just larger portions for an additional charge of $45 to $50 per person. We had dinner in the Tuscan restaurant where we expected a generous shrimp cocktail and steak for dinner but now go. We had fish that was tasteless and very poor service. The ship was not well cleaned or maintained. There were chairs with the stuffing coming out and the wooden arms heavily scared. The tables in the Ocean View Cafe (buffet) were constructed with a poor edging that was encrusted with dirt and grime. We pointed this out to the staff and they said they cleaned it but is wasn't during our cruise. The prices of items you normally purchase were very high also, A liter of water was $5.50 and a can of coke was $5.00, both with an additional 18% tip, just outrageous. Overall the service was less than average. We will never cruise on Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise to see Japan.The port of embarkation does not even exist on the port of embakation listing, its "home" port is Yokohama in Japan.This shows what a company this is.I would not recommend an American owned ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see Japan.The port of embarkation does not even exist on the port of embakation listing, its "home" port is Yokohama in Japan.This shows what a company this is.I would not recommend an American owned cruise company to my worst enemy as they are the masters of spoiling a cruise with their on-board pricing policy.How to give up a drink for 2 weeks unless you have very deep pockets.In our whole 2 weeks on board I never saw anyone buy a bottle of wine to drink with their dinner due to ridiculous prices.Every purchase had 15% added to it.For the price of a single whiskey on board you could buy a whole bottle of Japanese Whisky on shore.Drink could not be carried onto the ship as you had to pass through the drinks gestapo. On the plus side we had an inside cabin A 515.Although it did not have a porthole it seemed much better than those with a balcony.Much more spacious. The quality of the singers would go out in the first round of X Factor. The food it has to be said was very good,real English bacon and sausages for breakfast,nice evening meals without wine.Lovely staff. Embarkation and disembarkation was top rate - very good and well organised. The daily sum added to your account for staff tips was approx $13.00 each per day, 14 days $364.00 for husband and wife. It quickly became apparent that those who had cruised previously with the Princess Line had a much better deal than us first timers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This is my 33rd cruise - first and last with Carnival. Husband, self and adult daughter chose this to have a peaceful, relaxing trip back to Sydney, rather than flying, which I loathe. Upon boarding the ship and looking around, my ... Read More
This is my 33rd cruise - first and last with Carnival. Husband, self and adult daughter chose this to have a peaceful, relaxing trip back to Sydney, rather than flying, which I loathe. Upon boarding the ship and looking around, my disappointment could not be hidden. It looks like someone on serious drugs designed the decor which is a horrible, dark, ugly, gawdy mix of Neptune's nymphs vs Greek godesses vs medieval knights vs Ali Baba vs Roman Gladiators....and it looks like the lions won!! - this is besides the framed artwork in the lifts which ranged from angelic to downright dirty - lots of naked/scantily clad people...it's just downright awful, even the Captain agreed on that. Even though it was Aussie school holidays Carnival (which is obviously run by clowns) decided to close Kids Camp Carnival for renovations....there were hoardes of kids on board, ranging from tiny squealing/crying/grizzling babies to kids in their teens and everywhere in between. The mobile ones constantly ran through the ship, including the casino which is a main thoroughfare beween the show theatre and dining rooms on Deck 2...I saw several older and more immobile people get badly knocked by these kids but no-one said or did anything. They would also prop themselves on stools at the bar and the poker/slot/other gaming machines in that area. Once the ship docked in Honolulu currency/charges on board were changed to Aussie dollars, although Carnival only advised that the night before sailing and those with US dollars upon boarding were left high and dry with Guest Services unable to convert. Various charges also noticeably increased with the same 24 hour period of internet going from $9 US to $30 for Aussies....also minimum bet at roulette was raised from $5 US to $10 a spin for Aussies. Staff in general were good, although drink "service" was practically non-existent and had most of us fronting up to the various bars to be served ourselves. Food in buffet at lunch was good, in the Dining Room it was very hit and miss with some very strange combinations of food being served, sometimes much better on offer at the buffet. Entertainment was mostly nightly comedians, some good, some so bad they were walked out on. No real nightly entertainment which bought people together and continued on...several attempts at deck parties, first one was rocking for the first hour then they killed the mood with hula hoop contests and polynesian dancing - very subdued, so another early night. Bingo was a joke, very rushed, no "fun"at all - good attendances at all sessions, I would estimate at least 300 people at each, prizes rarely increased at all (all between $100 to $350 for the 5th game) then they had the hide to boast about the last game of the cruise with a "whopping guaranteed $1000". On the same cruise/duration several years ago this jackpot was over $9000....no "snowball" here, just more of the same Carnival greed applied. I complained about several things to the Captain, Hotel Director and Casino Manager, but I feel you can't even breathe without approval from Head office. If you want a cruise that's more like a zoo/child care centre, very disorganised, very expensive and not value for money then choose Carnival...if not, stay well away!!! We have been told on good authority Carnival are really going after the "Family Friendly" market, and next year will be doing away with tablecloths in the dining room....After 17 nights cruising I am still waiting for the "FUN"to begin - I feel a visit to the Dentist would at least make me laugh. Any line which shows this much contempt for Aussies doesn't deserve our business at all. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We received a lot of press on the new Sirena. We booked a Penthouse SG2 with no specific stateroom. This was a first for us not having a Stateroom; one of their promotions. We were going to be in ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We received a lot of press on the new Sirena. We booked a Penthouse SG2 with no specific stateroom. This was a first for us not having a Stateroom; one of their promotions. We were going to be in Europe so all seemed good; bad decision. We did not realize nor did our travel agent, that Oceania advises you of your stateroom the day before sailing. Thus you options to select another stateroom or cancel was not an option. My recommendation would be never to book a cruise without you knowing where you will be. As to the ship, the Sirena is a 17 year old ship and it still looks like it. Other than make all the staterooms smaller to gain more revenue, it is a mystery as to where the money went. The biggest shock was the size of the Penthouse. It had no closets and very limited space to put your clothes. Any cruise over 12 days would be an issue. The bathroom is a joke. You can almost take a shower, go to the toilet, and shave without moving. The width of the bathroom is so small it is hard to describe it. The shower is approx. 3’X 4’ I feel sorry for the passengers that did not have penthouses. On the positive side, the food was great. The ports we visited were great. The disappointment was their decision to stop in a great port on Sunday when 90% of the sights were closed. They stayed there the full day loading ship supplies. Making things worse, is the ship hit an underground cable due to a Pilot error. We had to stay another day in port and miss a great port that was on the itinerary. They offered everyone a $200.00 shipboard credit on a future cruise; they can keep it. I strongly recommend you stay from this ship if you want to experience a great cruise; there competitors offer such better choices Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I have been on about 15 cruises in the past. I have done 3 of these 1 night cruises from Vancouver to Seattle. We find it a quick and fun getaway. I have done 2 on NCL and 1 on Princess prior to this. I have sailed RCI, Disney, NCL, ... Read More
I have been on about 15 cruises in the past. I have done 3 of these 1 night cruises from Vancouver to Seattle. We find it a quick and fun getaway. I have done 2 on NCL and 1 on Princess prior to this. I have sailed RCI, Disney, NCL, Princess & Carnival. This was the worst experience ever! I have found the trick to one nighters is to get to Vancouver port for 10:15am, check in our bag and then go to the line up, usually wait 15 mins and they open up around 10:30am. Go through security (5 mins), then customs (5 mins) and then go get key cards and wait for boarding group (have been 10-20 mins) and then board. Usually we are on the ship by 11am-11:15am. Nice and easy. Well not this time. They had us check in bags, then go upstairs to the giant conference area. Wait in a massive lineup for about 45 mins (no line for repeat cruisers, gold members, platinum, or whatever it is princess has). Got key cards, then back out and down stairs, into another line up. Waited in that for 20 mins, got through security and then ushered into a huge waiting room of chairs. FINALLY got to sit down after being on our feet for about 75 mins at this point, and then waited for customs for another half hour. Then taken to the area where normally you get your keys, but instead was waiting area to board ship. Only at this point did returning cruisers get to go ahead. We didn't get on board until 12;15pm - 2 full hours of line ups! We were starving, tired, hot, sweaty and almost just left at one point it was getting ridiculous. Finally get on board. We didn't get to board into the main atrium, had to board at the back, so it was a bit underwhelming to walk onto the ship into a hallway. One of the fun parts of a new ship is that big 'wow' when you board, seeing the atrium and stuff. At this point I didn't really care. Went to buffet. Buffet was lined up out the doors and towards the pool. We were going to skip it, but love the embarkation buffet. 20 mins in line we got into buffet. Blech! Worst cruise buffet ever! It was like 'lets throw the one nighters the cheapest food we have and hope they don't notice'. Carving station was fish. Everything was fish. One chicken dish, 2 pastas and then 2 full counters of buns and butter. They really wanted us to fill up on buns. Desserts were boring. Cookies, tarts and a sugar free option. Worst buffet ever! We had to stand in the line going around the buffet and then exit, took about another 20 mins, and by the time we could exit our food was now cold. Ate our cold food by the pool and then got some ice cream. Went to our room and it was as expected. Our balcony was one of the extra large ones on deck 10 and I highly recommend getting one of these. It was nice to sit outside and put our feet up and watch everything. Lots of room. Room felt a bit tight and small. Shower was quite small. Typical older cruise ship room. I didn't find this ship as 'wow' as many I have been on. Nothing super special. Nothing wrong with it, but after being on many ships I would say it was just an average older ship. Dinner was not great. Again, put out the cheapest menu they could. Pasta, chicken breast, etc... NO steak! I have never gone to a main dining room that doesn't even offer a small steak! I had pot roast, which was 2 small pieces of beef on top of 2 carrots, a mushroom, 2 pieces of onion and some cheese thing. Cheesecake was good. Ceasear salad was 'ok'. Our party of 20 people were all very underwhelmed with dinner and left hungry and went to the buffet later LOL. I think the food was so bad and small they hoped we were all going to go pay $29 to each at the upcharge restaurant. Dinner buffet was 'Italian' - and it consisted of salad, some antipasto meats, a giant tub of spaghetti (no meat - just noodles and sauce and tasted like chef boy ar dee), chicken breast, mashed potatoes and a few other things. Nothing exciting. I thought maybe there was going to be chicken parm, lasagne,etc... Nope! Desserts were small pieces of apple pie, tarts and cookies. Boring! Ice cream and pizza was always lined up - a good 10 min wait for those. They shut down at 9:30. The hamburger place shut down at 9:30 as well. No room service available on a one night cruise (not uncommon - have noticed this before). They had a lot of entertainment options, comedy shows, the magic to do show (I left early as I didn't find it super enjoyable), etc.... Movies they chose for under the stars were odd choices- concerts. Last year we had watched a great movie and had fun with this, I had no desire to watch rock concerts. We had good weather, everyone was swimming and stuff. TV in our room was super fuzzy. We were really wanting to watch it anyway, but if we had, we probably couldn't have. Got up in the morning to realize we had no towels in our room. Had to run outside the stateroom at 8am to find a steward to get towels, who couldn't believe we didn't have any and was more the tone of 'yes you do, you stole them' - got towels. Room had no cold water - only hot would work- couldn't shower or we would get burnt. Just washed our hair quickly in the hot water. Found out all our friends got chocolates and turn down service and customs forms in their cabins. We got nothing! I had to track down a customs form that morning. Breakfast buffet line up was insane again. Took a half hour to get food. Pancakes and French toast were good. We were there about 8:45am, but not into the buffet until about 9:15am and there wasn't much left and they were not replenishing because it closed in 15 mins. No bagels, no muffins, no donuts, only a few lemon Danish. Eggs were yucky. No hashbrowns (they put out French fries). 3 boxes of cereal left. We ate a plate of pancakes and French toast - that was about all there was. Never been so glad just to be off a ship. At disembarkation they asked for our number. We didn't have a number- we were never given a number and the lady said "I think you are lying, everyone had a number, you just want off the ship faster not in your group". I want to add they were on group 24 and it was 9:45am, if I wanted to lie and get off the ship faster, I would have been there much earlier than that!!!!!! Elevators were PAINFULLY slow. Too many people trying to go to the same place at the same time on a one night cruise. No one is really 'spread out' in activities. It was not uncommon to wait 10 mins for an elevator, and I have a bad knee so stairs are not an option for me. Couldn't wait to get on that bus and come home - I was exhausted just from line ups, elevator waits, etc..... Was just not a fun time at all. If you like 20 min waits for food and elevators then go on a one night cruise. Otherwise I strongly suggest you skip it! I just felt frustrated the entire time - like we couldn't enjoy ourselves at all because we were always in some kind of huge line! I know lines are part of cruising, but this was cruise #15 for me and never had it like this before! I think the whole embarkation nightmare started us off on the wrong foot. I won't ever cruise princess again after this - if anything they should be putting their best foot forward and making a big impression, not slacking. They should make me want to cruise with them again - put out the chocolate fountain, put out the good desserts, the steak, the good menus - but instead it just made me go "I could never spend 7 days on this ship". I heard this over and over from many people. We would chat in line ups and it was 'never again' 'never princess again' 'go back to disney' 'go back to RCL'. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Explorer of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. Loved the interior, public areas especially the 14th floor view Lounge. Our extended balcony was really nice. Room was good, lots of storage, good closet. Room steward did a great job. That's ... Read More
Explorer of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. Loved the interior, public areas especially the 14th floor view Lounge. Our extended balcony was really nice. Room was good, lots of storage, good closet. Room steward did a great job. That's where it all ends......bed, bedding cheap and uncomfortable. Windjammer staff and food was terrible. Dinner service was good food again bad! My husband is a beef eater and after two nights could not order beef again. Rolls n butter were the best, we ate those. Food was bland, meat tough, not right temperature, just all around bad. Breakfast was really bad too. Scrambled eggs sitting in water, waffles wet, no cream cheese for bagels. When we asked for it we were told "gone for today" at 9:30 .... First day 1/2 n 1/2 for coffee next 6 days we were told "just milk" !!!!! I'm kidding right? Nope. No mid afternoon eating available for ppl returning from excursions. Just a place for coffe, tea and a half sandwich with no meat. Yup a bun with one thin piece of meat that didn't cover the half bun. Pathetic! No deli, pizza place, Burgers, etc during the day like on other cruise lines. Yes there's Johnny Rockets which you are charged a fee for but it was always closed.... The elevator wait was 5-7 min every time. I could do stairs but not hubby.....wait wait wait. Getting on the ship in Seattle was horrible. Took 3 hours with non moving lines. Getting off was quick and easy. This was our 30th cruise and we can say we have never been so glad to get off any cruise ship. We tried to give Royal Caribbean a second chance. Sailed in Caribbean eight years ago and were not impressed then. Carnival you rock. You know what you're doing and you do it right. Food, service, overall treatment of your passengers is a 10. RC sorry you get a 1. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We upgraded to the Haven.Upon arrival we realized there really was no Haven. We met a butler, but after the initial meeting he was non-existant. We had no orientation to our room or the ship. No rules were presented although the ... Read More
We upgraded to the Haven.Upon arrival we realized there really was no Haven. We met a butler, but after the initial meeting he was non-existant. We had no orientation to our room or the ship. No rules were presented although the "butler" seemed to be creating his own A total waste of money. No butler not concierge no service at all Could not get any wine to the cabin. The people in the Haven patio were helpful but could not bring the wine or cocktails because that was the job of the "non-existant" butler. Do not spend the money on this upgrade. The room is nice and the service around the ship was OK. The food in the Moderno, the place where Haven members go, is horrible! The clam chowder the first day was like a watery celery soup. Nothing in it! The shrimp cocktail and sword fish sandwich were both sent back. Went to Cagney's for a nice night out. The steak was grizzly and the baked potatoes cold. Getting wine, was a hassle even though we had the beverage package. Don't pay for that either. Totally overrated. We stopped at Astoria....nothing to do. Then on to Victoria and Vancouver. The evening meals are probably Ok but the cost of the package is far too high. This is not like any other Haven experience, beverage package, dining package we have ever had. This comes with terrible food and no service. We have sailed many times on Norwegian, but most likely not again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Having been on a number of Thomsons cruise in the past (with no problems) we decided to try the Enchanting Vistas repositioning cruise on the Dream. Wish we hadn't bothered now. The only good thing about that ship was disembarkation! ... Read More
Having been on a number of Thomsons cruise in the past (with no problems) we decided to try the Enchanting Vistas repositioning cruise on the Dream. Wish we hadn't bothered now. The only good thing about that ship was disembarkation! The food was sub-standard, often cold (custard mainly). Lobster on the Captain's night was so tough and overcooked that it was impossible to cut! Bread was sweet, toast was pre-cooked the night before for breakfast the following morning (we saw and asked), desserts, ok so a cupcake is nice but....... The ship lost a third of it's staff in Palma before setting off and was full of trainees who didn't have a clue. You could die of thirst waiting for waiters in the lounges! Reception staff were either trainees or didn't wear name badges. Tour to Sorrento and Pompeii was a farce, under an hour in Sorrento??? issues with guide in Taormina! Now I got a refund on 1 tour which left my onboard account at a minus figure and was given cash back but I have appending amount of £15 in my bank account, so watching that. Family had £1 to pay, had £14 pending but have had £22 taken out so all going on a complaint to Thomsons. This ship has rotting windows, rust and is shabby. Needs a total refit to be any good, ship and staff! Book any other ship but this. Credit however does go to Carlos in the main Restaurant, his professionalism and witty charm made our evening meals a pleasure (even if the food lacked quality). His trainee Luis was also very very good and saw a big improvement during the week, again credit to Carlos who works extremely hard (as do all wait staff) to make sure your evening meal goes smoothly. This cruise should never have been allowed to sail, the staff were simply not prepared/trained to deal with a full ship of passengers. Disgusted at Thomson right now and will not be considering another cruise with them for a very long time, if ever! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
worst service everywhere on the ship we have ever experienced. we have been on 9 rccl cruises. great captain merrick. but the food was terrible, entertainment was not acceptable,with exception to the vegas singer and the ventriloquist, and ... Read More
worst service everywhere on the ship we have ever experienced. we have been on 9 rccl cruises. great captain merrick. but the food was terrible, entertainment was not acceptable,with exception to the vegas singer and the ventriloquist, and adult comic. but that was for 14 days. cabin storage was good. cabin noise was very bad #3583. we also stayed on for the next 7 day cruise Barcelona to venice. that was even worse than the14.day. the itinerary was great!!!!!!!!!! rccl took all the english speaking stations off the tv. the 24 food options were uneatable. room service was awful if you could get them to answer the phone.thier food options were sooooooo nasty.we would prefer to go on carnival for now on. our last one in july was 5 stars. we were so unhappy we can not believe how it has gone down hill. embarkation was good. but we didnt get a stamp in our passport in venice when we got off. so we had alot of trouble changing planes in Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
public bathrooms were messy, expect to get your own coffee, tea, water in buffet, long lines for anytime dining on certain nights, very disorganized and very little to do. Our table talked about how bad it was, and then someone said they ... Read More
public bathrooms were messy, expect to get your own coffee, tea, water in buffet, long lines for anytime dining on certain nights, very disorganized and very little to do. Our table talked about how bad it was, and then someone said they are owned by Carnival, enough said. BTW even the casino was bad, the tournaments were a joke. The black jack tournament was $20.00 to enter and you had to have a certain score to win. I made it to the final table and received a t-shirt. That was not the problem. The problem is they took in at least 2000.00 dollars and only paid out 500.00 to the winner no second place. I have been on over 20 cruises and this by far was the worse. A person at our table one night said he volunteered to give a talk on NASA after noticing their was nothing much to do. The only night that had good entertainment was when Steve Moris was on stage. The employees seemed not to care and you know that comes from the stop down. I thought I was the only one that felt that this cruise was a waste of money. I soon found out it was on everyone's mind. I met a woman who was on a cruise for the first time. She was appalled at the service and Princess and she will never go on another cruise. Too bad her first experience was on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
If you like the following: • poor food & choice (carrots & courgettes with every type of meal including curry) • wooden sticks instead of tea spoons to stir your tea/coffee • a ship that shudders with constant ... Read More
If you like the following: • poor food & choice (carrots & courgettes with every type of meal including curry) • wooden sticks instead of tea spoons to stir your tea/coffee • a ship that shudders with constant vibration on all decks even when not moving • a very hard bed • sometimes only cold water in bathroom • loos that refuse to flush until some considerable time after you press the button • worn, dimly lit cabins • paying an excess for some coffees, drinks and all water even when you have bought a drinks package • very loud music and announcements (they must think everyone is deaf) • paying £23 to use the safe (after being told when booking that it was free) • poor value rushed excursions, Thomson staff disinterested when complaints raised • poor repetitive entertainment, not West End standard as advertised • badly dressed impolite passengers at dinner • a multitude of morbidly obese hirsute uncovered bodies drinking from early morning to late night on sun decks • a small cramped sun deck, tiny pool • leaving port early after noon • your photo taken every day including during excursions • Captains Gala Night with introduction to senior officers who say nothing, and yet another 3 photo ‘opportunities’ which took 45 minutes out of the 1 hour event then cruise on this one star ship. The only good point of this ship is the excellent staff. The best part of the holiday was leaving the ship and coming home. For the money we paid we would have received much better value with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I wanted to get to Italy by ship from Miami so we choose NCL Jade April 19, 2016. This is the ugliest ship I have ever been on. It was the old Pride of Hawaii and they never did any renovations. Plastic flowers on the ceiling, dated ... Read More
I wanted to get to Italy by ship from Miami so we choose NCL Jade April 19, 2016. This is the ugliest ship I have ever been on. It was the old Pride of Hawaii and they never did any renovations. Plastic flowers on the ceiling, dated looking tiki and Aloha bar, garish colors. It made the Hawaii theme really tacky. The buffet looked like a really poor work cafeteria. And the food was even worse. You never saw anyone cleaning or polishing anything. NCL charges for room service now too. They charge for every little thing. The included classic beverage package charges tips upfront so "free" was really, on our 13 day transatlantic cruise, $300 more in tips, to be paid up front, whether you drink or not. God forbid you want water. For a bottle of water to take to the room at night you must buy the water package which is $69. They do not have the 2 sheet newspapers daily like other cruise lines. They get the worse port docking so they charge $15 to take you to the town. They have a new president now and I would not sail on NCL if they paid me. After arriving in Venice, we boarded Celebrity for 10 days around Croatia. What a difference, Celebrity First Class, NCL no class. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was the 3rd time we have taken this cruise out of San Juan and the other 2 times was on the VALOR--which we loved...the Fascination was such a let down and much too small of a ship. Our inside cabin was unfortunately directly below ... Read More
This was the 3rd time we have taken this cruise out of San Juan and the other 2 times was on the VALOR--which we loved...the Fascination was such a let down and much too small of a ship. Our inside cabin was unfortunately directly below the Galley...the noise level ALL hours of the night was horrific and RUINED our cruise experience on this ship. When we complained after the first night we were told to call the desk and they would send someone up to the galley to quiet down...well that lasted on 10 - 15 minutes. We were then offered ear plugs for the noise level - which did help...on the 3rd day we were offered another cabin but did NOT want to pack everything up only to unpack it in another cabin. I must say Carnival did their best to try and accommodate..but in reality these cabins should not even be available to be booked or be booked a greatly reduced rates letting guest know of this issue. Did not like the way the Casino is set up on both sides of the main isle. The small bands that were playing were in hidden areas. Our days on the island were fun and exciting. We are platinum members and will NEVER book a small ship again Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Aussies Beware. Holland America Line (HAL) Our holiday (disaster), my wife and I were on the Volendam in stateroom 7062. We arrived in Vancouver May 4th, We boarded the ship in Yokohoma a 19 day cruise, the first night on board we ... Read More
Aussies Beware. Holland America Line (HAL) Our holiday (disaster), my wife and I were on the Volendam in stateroom 7062. We arrived in Vancouver May 4th, We boarded the ship in Yokohoma a 19 day cruise, the first night on board we had very little sleep the noise above our stateroom was excessive with the moving of the table and chairs and the trolley that they use to move things around in this lasted until about midnight, then the trolley was moved again at 3am the the table and chairs were again put out for breakfast at around 4:45am. at around 11 am the next day the noise started again, I quickly went up stairs and found 3 deckhands dragging the chairs and tables around. apparently there is a store room above which contains a lot of props for decorations which are constantly being moved. My husband spoke the the deck steward about the noise, he told him he would also speak to the night deck hand. We then started my complaints to the front office trying to get a room change. we complained regularly about this as it happened every day and night until I was told that compensation would be paid and nothing else could be done. We were fobbed off. At the end of the cruise $250 taken off our bill. Not one night did we have a full sleep and forget about catching up during the day just as bad, if you are unlucky enough to have a bad stateroom they have your money and you are not getting it back. Forget Australian Consumer Guarantee laws they don't apply. Complaints get you no where. I have been in touch with ATAS was told nothing could be done and the travel agent could not be held responsible, I have been in communication with office of the president of HAL and their ombudsman what a waste of time. Its not the money but the thought that nowadays you can still get ripped off so easy. I cruise quite a bit, HAL is not up to standard and would not recommend. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was a 2nd cruise on the same line and a very similar itinerary (no stop in San Francisco this time) but on a different ship (Island P 4 years ago). Experience was very poor and one wonders if Princess's standards can drop so ... Read More
This was a 2nd cruise on the same line and a very similar itinerary (no stop in San Francisco this time) but on a different ship (Island P 4 years ago). Experience was very poor and one wonders if Princess's standards can drop so much in that time. Here is a highlight of the things that weren't good: Well over an hour to check in and get onboard (no waiting in between the two, just standing in line all the time). And this was at delayed boarding time. Much could be done to streamline the process, if Carnival Corp. so chose to. Overworked, tired staff who were marginally surly as a result (probably up all night getting the ship ready for U.S. clearance and inspection - the ship had spent the winter in South America and had just come up for the season) especially on the first night or two. Ship and staff should have had a day's break. Managers that did their best to avoid eye contact with you. Cruise Director hardly made any announcements until last full day - presence almost undetectable insufficient dining room staffing (only 1 out of 3 open for breakfast, lunch and tea that led to long queues and long wait for some, and somewhat inept service - such as getting your jams long long after pastries arrive, long waits for the featured breakfast item - over an hour for breakfast one day) traditional dining room staff barely had enough time in between seatings to set up so second sitting was always late Our reserved/guaranteed and assigned table for 2 became a table for 6. Fortunately the other people we were seated with were very nice and we chose to keep company with them for the next 3 evenings Entertainment was pretty lame. We had come off a 16-night voyage on a container ship a week earlier and no entertainment on the CMA CGM Libra was preferable to the pathetic offerings on the Star Princess No Captains Circle events for the lowly tiers (Gold and Rubys - did see a higher tier have an invitation) - and this despite the boarding day in-cabin Captain's Welcome Back card promise for an event later on in the cruise. Not even some recoqnition or an explanation that it was a short cruise. Very overcrowded fitness all morning. Maybe these short cruises aren't full of lard bottoms. No luggage offloading services unless you had bought a cruise line tour or transfer. Some plusses Canadian entry was very low key and absolutely no formal entry process except filling the customs form early on in the cruise. Cabin (C514) was very good - though small per Princess standards. Lots of wasted space. Probably the best balcony level as it offers the most space and some modicum of privacy from cabins above without sun blockage. Food was quite good, when the kitchen could keep up. BEST QUOTE Breakfast time in the dining room usually closed at 0930 on sea days but 0900 on the port day in Victoria. Some people came that day a little late at ~0907 and were turned away and directed to the Horizon Court. His comment: "I guess we'll have to head for the troughs" Very good value because we were using it for repositioning to get home. As far a cruise vacation goes, highly NOT recommended Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Royal Caribbean Cruises; Rhapsody of the Seas - April /May 2016 Cruise Chile to San Paulo Brazil with two day stop over before cruise in Santiago Chile (19 nights in total). ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Cruises; Rhapsody of the Seas - April /May 2016 Cruise Chile to San Paulo Brazil with two day stop over before cruise in Santiago Chile (19 nights in total). --------------------------------------------------------------- My wife and I have been cruising now for 40 years altogether, we always pick the itinary over the shipping Company therefore only cruising with this company Royal Caribbean Cruises 4 or 5 times. The last time was two or three years ago and we would just like to let people know the subtle in some cases and not so subtle changes that have been made without telling the passengers b before they book. Now you have to accrue points by spending money with the Company to get a better service, a service that was always expected at all times otherwise now your just a economy no frills passenger. To a new person going cruising the first time I suppose it looks good but there have been cut backs with crew making their workload crazy, staff in the Restaurant and buffet are so short and nobody seems to be bothered but just smile and tough it out except for one lady waiter cracking up one night and running out)?, The whole atmosphere has changed dramatically. In the formal Restaurant it always took two hours to get our meal served and finished (50 minutes before ANY service if you don’t count the glass of water)!! THE FOOD IN THE BUFFET WAS ALWAYS COLD. AND IN THE RESTUARANT ONY 50% HOT Of course the trips are so expensive it’s ridiculous, 4 hour trip EACH WAY to see penguins (hundreds of pounds)? Taking over 8 hours in total, just as an example. Hand disinfectant machines were evident at most locations but an attendant only accompanying the machine at Restaurant and buffet, it’s a shame a hint was needed to some passengers as in any ship but anywhere else on board with no attendant very few used them, this tended to result in diarrhoea all over the place in the toilets on decks. Leaving the ship at the end of the cruise was chaotic, people arguing and shoving in the massive queues for passports and customs, lots of handbags at dawn sort of thing, to make it worse the Captain came along with a lady putting her in front of us who had been waiting for 45 minutes so far and my wife asked about the queue jumping being wrong he just looked then walked off. (Even he didn’t give a fig). Nobody was taking ANY responsibility whatsoever just passing the buck to someone else etc etc. A very expensive holiday that was a nightmare, the weather was as expected so that wasn’t an issue but he decided NOT to call at two place one being round the horn as it was rough, taking into account we had been in 30ft swells and very large wave all day anyway. Many got the impression he just wanted a quite life but we certainly cannot challenge his judgement, but it did seem silly. After 40 years cruising worldwide under our belt this one has made a easy decision for us to pack it all in starting with the normally good in the past Royal Carrabean. The ships are so large now that for the Company it’s just a case of fill the cabins and smile all the time at the passengers even though your tips are now inclusive and you don’t have to work for them now. Our tip for future cruise DONT go on these massive ships they are very impersonal, not as friendly as the small cruise ships. We both were ill and still are over a week after the end of the cruise, toilet, toilet, toilet. Very disappointed, NO. Feel as we have been ripped off passengers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just back from the Barbados to Southampton Transatlantic. We were left feeling very disappointed. We don't usually moan and we never try to find fault with things but there was so many obvious problems that we just found the whole ... Read More
Just back from the Barbados to Southampton Transatlantic. We were left feeling very disappointed. We don't usually moan and we never try to find fault with things but there was so many obvious problems that we just found the whole experience not enjoyable. We so wanted to love this ship but P&O made it very hard for us. Firstly boarding in Barbados was fine, quick and efficient with friendly staff. We boarded and first impressions were good - we thought that she was a pretty ship. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 15 forward. It was very tasteful, on the small size but with a comfortable bed it was more than adequate. The TV was excellent, loads of free to watch movies and TV shows in on demand format. Our cabin steward was pretty good, we did have problems having our free conditioner and shampoo replaced when it ran out, he actually came in to our room when we asked him for it to be refilled after 10 days to check we had in fact ran out! How stingy is that? There was ample storage and tea and coffee making facilities. There was a small fridge to keep your own drinks in and a small safe to keep your belongings safe. The bathroom was tiny but very functional - the shower had a glass screen so no annoying shower curtain to stick too! The balcony was again on the small side but this wasn't helped with the ridiculous large furniture they had placed on there, we kept tripping over it! If made the balcony feel tiny with no room for maneuvering. The entertainment was excellent during the night, shows and acts were all very good. The big problem was that there was barely nothing on during the day, entertainment was basically non existent! We had 8 sea days, most of them with cooler weather - the horizons guide was full of activities but 90% were paid! All spa and shopping opportunities. We were incredibly disappointed. It was all money, money money - thats all P&O were interested in. They did not care that their passengers were kept entertained. This led to the ships interior areas being totally overcrowded. All the venues were too small for a ship this size, it was uncomfortable to say the least. Everywhere was packed, no seats anywhere. This included the theatre and live lounge too - the two main entertainment venues were massivley undersized. Finding a seat on a busy night in the live lounge was a nightmare - so many were left standing for the full night. This goes for the outside areas too - sunbeds crammed together like sardines. They were reserved from 6.30am on the warmer days with no action but empty threats from P&O. Two small hot tubs (if you don't count the paid Retreat) for a ship with 4000 passengers! Crazy! The whole back of the ship was covered in soot and stunk of engine fumes so mostly unusable on sea days when the engines were under power. The service in general was poor, no smiles or interaction. We are always very polite and try to talk to staff on the ship but this was like pulling teeth! They looked bored and uninterested. The waiters were only bothered about getting a drink sale. During one song in the live lounge we were asked 8 - yes 8 times!! If we wanted a drink. You were never left alone for more than 15 seconds if you didn't have a drink or were close to finishing one. There was no system in place to tell waiters we had already been asked. It became a running joke about how many times we could be asked! We were refused point black to the point of an argument in Java Coffee shop when we asked for our free cake! The waitress refused us and shouted "you should have asked when ordering" bear in mind that this was about 7 seconds after we placed the order! She continued to shout at us and refused us our free piece of cake. Well we were both bemused and astonished - had this really just happened over a free piece of carrot cake?! When trying to eat at the Glass House one evening we were told there would be a 45 minute wait. This was fine but when we saw a group of entertainment team being sat two minutes later we were so angry! I have no problem with staff using the ships facilities when it quiet but when paying customers were having to queue behind staff we could not believe it! We complained about both instances but were given a half hearted sorry. Now the food. It was very poor on the whole. The quality and selection was poor compared to other liners we have sailed with. It was so uninspired, it was often cold with poor cuts of meat and served with the same overcooked vegetables each day. The buffet was the same, the selection was very poor - especially the sea food which was only to be seen a few times throughout the cruise. The paid Epicurian was very good but we were left with the impression to eat well you had to pay more! The hygiene was a joke, the sinks outside the buffet barely ever worked. Hand sanitizers were often empty and none of the staff seemed to care. We reported it a few times and nothing was done about it at all. No enforcement, people just walked in without washing their hands - it was disgusting! No wonder P&O are failing health inspections on some of their ships! Would we travel on her again - not a chance! We didn't have the best time. I came down with food poisoning the morning we left the ship, it took me over a week to recover from it. It topped off a terrible cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
First, a caveat. I assume a lot of people like Princess. After two cruises, we do not. We are Celebrity Elite status cruisers and find Princess no match for Celebrity. So, maybe my comments will help others who are not sure what line to go ... Read More
First, a caveat. I assume a lot of people like Princess. After two cruises, we do not. We are Celebrity Elite status cruisers and find Princess no match for Celebrity. So, maybe my comments will help others who are not sure what line to go with, to make a decision based on this information. Getting on and off were fine. The food was good, except I felt the beef items from hamburgers to steaks were not top quality. The Horizon Cafe has a low ceiling and is not a very pleasant place to eat, nor is the way the buffet is laid out very convenient. The staff was fine - good, hardworking folks. #1 - The Fitness Center is above a deck of cabins, so one cannot use the treadmills until 8 am and must stop at 10 pm. #2 - Scoops Ice Cream only has runny soft serve. Traditional hard ice cream is not served. The place itself is not attractive or enticing. #3 - There are no veranda rooms with a third bed on the floor. Those rooms only have upper berths. You have to go to a mini-suite to have a 3rd bed. #4 - Smoking in the Casino wafts into the Princess Theater, stinking up the place. #5 - Milk, no matter where served, is not cold. They do not have stainless steel refrigerated dispensers. #6 - Cocoa packets are not offered at the coffee/tea/water bars. #7 - The TV was mounted kitty-corner on a shelf above the fridge. From sitting in the bed, you have to extend your arm to change the channel or turn off and on. The shelf impinges on the view of the screen. Also, the corner of the shelf is a hazard - if you bend down to reach into the fridge and stand up, you can easily bump your head, which I did twice. #8 - Good movies were shown on the outside screen. We were told they would be shown on the TV the next day. Finding out the times was impossible. Princes has an ancient TV system that runs an interminable scroll about what is on the TV. It is not updated promptly each day, and the outside movie was never on the scroll at all. Inquiring twice about the time of a movie, and planning to be in the cabin to see it, we were given incorrect information twice. #9 - The room was small and dull. The doors are very narrow, and upon entering the room is not at all inviting. Tiny bathroom. No couch, and a chair, table and nightstand had to be removed for a roll-away be to be used. (A lousy roll away bed, I might add.) [Our travel agent made an error on our booking. We needed 3 beds and specifically did not want an upper berth. Princess has no veranda cabins with a 3rd bed on the floor.] #10 - "You can't get there from here" - We hated the layout of this ship. Sometimes stairwells were roped off. Some elevators do not go to the deck you need, and you have to get off, go up or down on the stairs,across, and then reach your destination. Service elevators were in public areas, which we had never seen before. #11 - Adult quiet areas. Had to find unless you wanted to pay for "The Sanctuary". There was a tiny adult pool, but it had few loungers, and offered no shade at all. We will not be cruising Princess again, and regret the waste of money that this cruise was. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Pre-cruise started off to a weird start - no prompting from Costa to fill out anything for the cruise, no communications at all. Found their web site to be very cumbersome and non-informative. We experienced Quick embarking (showed ... Read More
Pre-cruise started off to a weird start - no prompting from Costa to fill out anything for the cruise, no communications at all. Found their web site to be very cumbersome and non-informative. We experienced Quick embarking (showed up just prior to leaving port), no room card give and no indication of where and when we would receive this. Once on the ship we headed to our rooms and there was the room unlocked and the card on the bed. We toured a little and then went to the buffet for supper as we had toured all day and were tired. To our surprise there was NO buffet, a few slices of dry pizza and wilted salad. We quickly changed and off we when to find our dining room - we had had no communication as to which one we were in or our dining time. Found a bar steward who directed us - got to the dining room, no one to seat you - just pointed in the general direction and left to find your table on your own. Ordered wine, charged the wrong price +$10 - had a great head waiter "Rex" and his NEW helper that was his first day and had obviously NEVER worked in any form of dining service! There were only 3 of us at our table for 8 that night and it took 2.5 hours to get our wine, water, main and dessert. The wine and water took 50 minutes. The helper didn't get any better over the duration of the cruise and had to be directed on every little task throughout the entire 20 days. The Food overall has no taste and meat very tough and usually over cooked. Menu undesirable, most nights unable to pick as nothing sounds appealing. Never vegetables served with main course. Breakfast buffet - terrible, mounds of sweets but fruit is almost nonexistent. Only time you could get coffee with a meal with out being charged extra for it was during breakfast out of the large carafes. Lunch buffets are disappointing, with tasteless food and lots if times food is cold and even still frozen. never changed generally offered the same every day. Costa is All about the extra $, no education about the ports to be visited, only about the offers through ship. Free transportation to town is offered 300m from ship but all that is told is transportation is $14. Ship has very poor cleaning standards, never in 20 days did I witness a table being cleaned and sanitized between guests or even between meals. Cleaning on the deck the same low standard, observed workers wiping and drying but in a 30, minute period never cleaning the cloth or using a cleaner of any sort. Shows had a great assortment and were very entertaining, but when that was done for the evening there was nothing else to do. Did one excursion off the ship - it was good and could purchase tickets up until the time to go as they kept adding busses as needed - EXCELLENT. Over all was very disappointed with the cruise and will not go with Costa again as all previous cruises have been with Princess and Costa can't compete. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016

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