We are mostly independent travellers who have been using cruise ships over the past 4 years to see places we were curious to see but not necessarily for a lengthy stay. During this time we have taken 15 cruises - 4 Celebrity, 4 Disney, 3 ... Read More
We are mostly independent travellers who have been using cruise ships over the past 4 years to see places we were curious to see but not necessarily for a lengthy stay. During this time we have taken 15 cruises - 4 Celebrity, 4 Disney, 3 Royal Caribbean, 3 Princess and 1 Viking oceans. I have enjoyed them all for different reasons but this one will always stand out in my memory for the bawdiness of some of the passengers. Sad to say, this was also our first cruise out of Southampton and the offending passengers were fellow Brits.
If you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, it looked like a booze cruise on steroids, with bad language and behaviour to match.
I am sure that the vast majority of passengers were absolutely fine, and I am guessing that it was possible to enjoy this cruise without seeing any of this. Certainly in the dining room (we eat early at breakfast and dinner) and on the ship's excursions, the passengers were as unremarkable as any we have encountered on other cruises, and we spoke to many pleasant people.
The cruise itself was okay, and I have only given it an average score because it did not come up to the very high expectations we had based on previous cruises, although the main reason for booking was to see the Canary islands and this was accomplished to a degree. We were very disappointed that the stay in Lanzarote was so short - 7 am to 1 pm - we should have done more research before we booked on that one.
We saw most of the performances in the theatre and rate them okay to good. Darren Day was very entertaining. The cruise director did her job well enough, but really, trying to force people to shout 'Hello Clo' in unison when she came on was cringe-worthy. The enrichment programme included a retired airline pilot who gave interesting (peppered with a bit of old-fashioned sexist banter) talks. The talks were not that well attended which was pity.
We had cabin 9600, a regular balcony cabin in the centre of the ship and it was fine. No complaints at all.
We had the same dining room staff each evening, James and Hannah and they were just great; efficient, informative and good humoured. Mostly the food was good but I did notice more items on the menu aimed at the British which were cheaper to make. I am guessing that their food budget for cruises out of Southampton may be less generous than elsewhere. We are not foodies but even my husband commented upon the lack of chicken in the curry he had. And we are not given to ordering two entrees each!
We had pre-paid for 2 coffee cards since we like good espressos and cappuccinos and have purchased them successfully with Princess. Think twice before you bother on Royal Caribbean. Firstly, who serves good espressos in a paper cup? Royal Caribbean that's who! We did complain at Guest Services and it was followed up big time, so they would provide tiny espresso cups on request thereafter. The joke was when we first enquired why this was being done at the counter, one of the baristas told us it was for 'safety' reasons. We laughed because there were glasses and mugs galore within sight.
The coffee card has 15 punches. I think the dollar price was $36. A standard cappuccino was $3, so okay, if you have 15 of those you are ahead. But here's the rub ..... a single espresso is $2 and a double is $3 .... and they want 2 punches for the double! That's right, you could get 7 double espressos and 1 single for your coffee card, but if you charged to your Sea Pass card, they would have cost $23 instead of the $36 for the coffee card! Explain why that one is a bargain? My attempt at explaining why it could not be right fell on deaf ears. By the way, these exchanges with the baristas were carried out pleasantly because they are only doing their jobs and appear to work non-stop. In the end, using the coffee card was more trouble than it was worth and we had punches left over and got a refund for the second card.
Tipping. I wish that they would build the tips into the cruise price for the UK market because it embarrasses me to read of the numbers of guests who have them removed. Just build them into the cost of your cruise people. Needless to say we leave ours in place and tip extra for great service.
Embarkation and disembarkation was quick and easy and we parked our car within 100 m or so of the ship, and kept the keys with us. I can see that is a big attraction of sailing from a UK port. Our last cruise was into Fort Lauderdale where we were in line for 1.5 hours - although we have breezed through in the past.
We have 2 more cruises booked out of Southampton, albeit with other cruise lines, so I am really hoping that this was a one-off in terms of passenger behaviour. Read Less