Travel operator: p & o
We elected to use the ‘valet’ car parking facility at the dockside in Southampton which proved to be very efficient. Check in and embarkation was also very brisk but then it was not very busy when we arrived around lunchtime. The 1200 or so passengers (almost a full ship) were mainly British and well into their retirement (of course it is a child free ship).
The Artemis was launched around 1984 by Diana, Princess of Wales, and in those days sailed as the Royal Princess. Being 25 years old the ship, as you would expect, is no longer in mint condition. However, we were pleasantly surprised at how well she looked after all those years of service. The cabin was a good size with adequate storage. All are ‘outside’ with a picture window and the en-suite has a small bath tub with a shower over. Although our cabin had an ‘obstructed view’ the lifeboat only cut off the upper half of our view and the horizon was easily visible.
Some general points:  P&O have now banned smoking in all indoor areas including your cabin, this leaves balcony’s and areas on the open decks.  There are minimal announcements made through the public address system; a good thing since on some ships e.g. Royal Caribbean you are constantly harangued to go and play bingo or come and see the art collection that will be auctioned etc. This constant ear bashing turns a relaxed cruising experience into ‘Butlins afloat’ and is of course unnecessary as you are provided with a comprehensive daily programme the night before.  The Coral Dining Room, being on a lower deck, suffers from some engine noise which can make conversation at a larger table more difficult. This seems worse towards the aft end of the room.  There are some themed evenings in the dining room such as ‘tropical night’ so you may wish to pack a ‘bright’ shirt. If you forget they are available for sale on the day at £15. As usual we chose to ignore, but the waiters insist on placing a plastic (flowery) necklace over your head. Since this tends to impede dining we removed after a suitable pause.  Tendering ashore was very efficient so there were minimal delays. They had two gangways on the go down to the tenders and this proved very adequate. Other cruise lines take note; on a Celebrity ship last year the tendering service to St Peter Port was awful and caused some anger amongst the passengers due to the long waiting around (and I’m talking hours).  Internet access was £10 an hour so that room was largely empty each time I walked past. Connection to the internet is usually slow in any event.
Food and drink is an important aspect for many. Quality and variety seem to have suffered year on year and Royal Caribbean, in particular, have descended to ‘indifferent’. The Artemis was better than that but did not excite. Bread was either white or brown dinner rolls and they sometimes had to hunt for the brown. Vegetables are ‘set’ and added at the table (so called silver service) but I had a salmon fillet on the first night and was offered cabbage and carrots. Not a classic combination. Soups were sometimes rather thin, as was the orange juice at times. The Captain’s welcome on board dinner had impressive main courses: venison casserole, rack of lamb, gressingham duck and lobster thermidor but my thermidor sauce was more of a rubbery cheese coating. Bad choice! And of course the duck and rack of lamb were never seen again. Other menus? Well we were rarely spoilt for choice, put it that way.
P&O always do an ‘Indian night’ in the self service restaurant up on the Lido deck. This area is called The Conservatory on the Artemis. The Indian food was excellent and on this trip they had a second Indian evening towards the end of the cruise. We highly recommend this and you usually have to book in advance. Other evenings in The Conservatory are often themed and we visited it when they were offering Thai food. This was disappointing with some of the main dishes downright bland.
On most evenings half of The Conservatory is ‘transformed’ into The Grill. This is the ‘fine dining’ part of the ship and costs £7.75 per person. I say ‘transformed’ because all they do is remove some tables (to make it seem spacious), put some coloured balloons up and some candles on the tables. OK they are doing their best on a ship that has no specialised restaurant but the setting did not attract us. The Grill was under subscribed on this cruise (according to the feedback we heard) but the food was very good (we were told).
Service around the ship was superb. Our dining room waiters were faultless, helpful, and friendly. You never had to look around for a drinks waiter in any of the bars as they were alert and attentive. We also feel that there was enough staff to provide this excellent service, on some ships there simply aren’t enough waiters to cope and this can be something of a frustration when you want an after dinner drink. We have never had better service on any other ship.
Drinks were very reasonably priced e.g. wine from around £12-14 a bottle or £7 for a half litre of house wine or £3.45 for a large 250ml glass. Draught Boddingtons £2.20 a pint, draught Stella Artois £2.50 a pint, coffee 90p or cappuccino £1.40. Note also that there is no extra service charge on these drinks. Most other cruise companies add 15% to your bill. Talking of drinks there was a good selection of complementary drinks at the Captain’s welcome aboard cocktail party (before dinner on the first formal evening): red/white wine, gin and tonics and of course the sparkling white wine sometimes referred to as ‘champagne’. I dare say the waiters would have brought you your favourite tipple (within reason).
Entertainment on board was the usual cruise fare but tailored to the the (older) British consumer e.g. questions for the (popular) music quiz pre-dated 1980 and the comedian was squeaky clean but with material that also tended to pre-date 1980. In cabin TV featured comedy from Morecambe & Wise & The Two Ronnies. Movies shown on cabin TV were up to date e.g. Hancock and the latest Harry Potter offering. Live Premiership soccer was screened in the Horizon lounge on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Some final positive comments about Captain Rynd who proved to be ‘man of the match’ on this cruise. As we entered the Mediterranean heading for Barcelona-Cannes-Portofino the projected weather for those areas was so poor that he made the bold decision to reverse the whole cruise itinerary. Thus we headed down to Tunis then Malta before continuing towards Italy and around the Med. in an anti-clockwise direction. This achieved the desired effect of good weather for the cruise (at least while we were in the Med.)
The Captain was visible throughout the cruise, having meals in the Coral Dining Room and The Conservatory. He also walked around the ship having brief interactions with passengers. This is akin to a Head teacher walking the corridors during classes. It does makes a difference and hopefully helps to maintain high standards.
Travel operator: P&O
Travel operator: GILLS CRUISES
Artemis is a small ship, and has a reputation for an intimate and friendly feel. When we borded our first impressions were dissapointing compared to the other ships we have cruised on. The ship is well maintained but very tired looking. If this had been our first cruise we would have wondered what all the fuss was about.
It took a few days to settle into the ship, but by the end of the cruise we loved Artemis. So please don't let your initial impression spoil the holiday.
We usual have a balcony cabin but for the first time we booked an outside cabin with a window. Our room had all the usual facilties, with a powerful shower over a small bath. The room was comfortable with plenty of storage. The only complaint being the tiny safe (only the passports could fit) and the antique portable tv and its dodgy remote. Our room steward Rose was fantastic.
The dining room is at the back of the ship and tends to vibrate with the engine, just adding to the fun. The food was good and typically very English, meat and veg. Our waiters were very fast serving the food and we would somtimes be finished our evening meal in a record time. Not our finest memory of the cruise.
The conservatory is where breakfast buffet and lunch is served. For the first time ever we would walk in and walk out as it gets so busy. Guests are asked to leave as soon as they are finished so others can sit to eat. Food in here was acceptable, but we missed the choice of different venues, and hated the crowds.
There is no theatre on the ship but instead two show lounges. The entertainers put on some great shows in such small spaces and we generally had a great time.
The horizon lounge is a fantastic observation bar, but the entertainment in here every night was a quiz, followed by karoke. Such a waste as it was one of the best spaces on the ship.
The crew on this ship as always, were very friendly and attentive. We like to be able to TIP the staff that have looked after us. P&O 's tipping policy allows you to do this rather than a cumpulsory tipping on some other ships we have been on.
For the first time, no matter when we decided to hit the pool, we could always get a lounger. You did not have to be up at the crack of dawn, which was great!!!
We had a fantastic cruise with some minor blips, and enjoyed the transatlantic crossing as well as the islands we visited. Still love the P&O experience but hoping to try one of their newer ships next year.
Travel operator: Cumbria Cruises
wE HAD A SUPER TIME AND IT WAS UP TO DATE OUR BEST CRUISE YET. WE HAVE BEEN ON 4 PREVIOUSLY.
I GRANT YOU THE ROOMS ARE SMALLER THAN ON OTHER SHIPS OF PO BUT THE CLEANLINESS,AMBIENCE AND STAFF WERE SUPERB.THE THEATRE SHOWS WERE EXCELLENT AND VERY WELL PRODUCE AND IF THERE WAS A COMPLAINT THEN IT WOULD BE THAT THEY WERE NOT ENOUGH SHOWS. WE DID HAVE CABARAT ACTS BUT IN SOME INSTANCES THEY WERE LACKING.NOT TO BE UNKIND BUT NOT UP TO PO'S NORMALLY GOOD STANDARDS.
WE HAD EXCELLENT ENTERTAINMENT OFFICERS AND I WILL MENTION, DANNY WILLIAMS WHO NORMALLY WORKS ON THE VENTURA MICHA ALSO, WHO WENT OUT OF THERE WAY TO ENSURE WE ENJOYED OUR DECK SPORTS.AND OTHER EVENING ENTERTAINMENT.THE CAPTAIN AND OTHERS JOINED THE PASSENGERS FOR THE FORMAL NIGHTS EVENING MEAL AND ENTERTAINED.THEY WERE SUPER
WILL WE BE TRAVELING AGAIN ON THE ARTEMIS YES YES YES
IT IS DUE IN DRY DOCK IN 2010 FOR A COMPLETE REFIT SO WATCH OUT.
NEXT CRUISE IS TO THE PANAMA IN FEB 2010
Travel operator: PO
Travel operator: p.o. artemis
We wanted to have a week in Norway. We paid for an upgrade from a suit to a suit with a butler. Tne suit was tired and certainly not worth the money. On the first night we were show to a table for two that was jammed against the wall and very uncomfortable. The food was like the school dinners of my youth and the whole meal was over in less than one hour. The next night we paid extra to eat on the lido deck. The food was great as was the service so we booked the resturant for the rest of the week. My wife is quite shy and did not want me to complain about the suit and the first nights meal.
When I booked the holiday I specifically asked if they were showing the final of the champions league. I was told that they would show the match if there was satellite reception. I had tickets for the final in Athens but decided not to let my wife down and go on the cruise. On the night of the match they were showing the build up from a German channel. As soon as the match started the screen went blue. I went red and demanded to know why they were not showing the match. There was perfect satellite reception showing sky news. The next day I saw the assistant purser and verbally made my complaint about the standard of the room and food and the failure to show a major sporting event. I refused to pay my ships account at that time and got the purser to de register my card. I paid £100 in cash to cover any further purchases as a gesture of good faith. When I got back home I wrote to P&O to express my complaint and to ask for answers.
They took nearly 7 weeks to respond and their letter did not address any of my complaint. I issued a seven day letter before action to their legal department and they eventually made me a measly offer to avoid county court proceedings. The reason they did not show the match was because they had not paid for the right to do so.
P&O are owned by Carnival PLC. They have a systematic approach to customer complaints - ignore them,fob them off and when they really do have to do something then pay as little as possible to get rid of them.
My first cruise was on Aurora - in the Library suit. It cost a fortune but was a fantastic way of celebrating 25 years of marriage. My second cruise was a very late booking going with P&O to madeira last new year. We had a fabulous time and the food was fantastic.
I had booked a £10000 cruise next year with P&O but cancelled it because of the way they treat genuine customer complaints.
I have booked with another cruise liner - brand new ship.
If you have a complaint about a cruise and have already booked with the same company for your next cruise you are not entitlied to have your deposit refunded unless you are prepared to issue proceedings against them.
I will never sail with any cruise company owned by Carnival PLC because I have absolutely no faith in the customer complaint system.
Travel operator: P&O
Old rustbucket fits quite well.
My wife and myself took my brother and his wife on their first cruise. We thought from Southampton to the Canaries would be a good start for them.
As stated previously the rooms were the first, yes 1 bed and a drop down, yes I agree caravan style. The room was smaller than we have had in the past and wardrobe space was laughable.
Food next, restaurant staff (waiters) brilliant, food choice limited, quality only par.
Entertainment abizmal. The cruise entertainment staff took the easy option and centred their attention arround the more elderly passengers, I can quite honestly say their 'get up and go' had 'got up and gone'.
The whole ship was tired and more scruffy than dirty.
The ports of call could have been better too, container base, ghost town type qualities came about in the canaries.
So sorry not again on this ship, in fact considering if this is the quality, not again P&O. Going back with Princess in October.
Travel operator: Going Places
Bad weather meant we had to miss out Cadiz but the rest of the cuise went like clockwork.
This ship is very good in rough seas having a deeper draft than ships twice her size.
Our 2nd cruise on her and can't wait for October 08 when we sail to the Carribean.
Not a ship if you want climbing walls,icerinks butinstead a wonderful friendly atmosphere,great crew and basic cabins bigger than found on other P&O ships.
Travel operator: P&O
Travel operator: cruise connections
Ask a Question
Got a question? Ask our community of over 1.5 million users.