This is a floating retirement village; full of routines that belong in a retirement village, eg pools close 6pm, deck staff come and begin to stack away deck chairs at 5pm, show at night only on for half an hour, entertainment is lectures, games with cruise directors staff - held indoors and consisting of quoits, carpet golf, carpet bowls using plastic balls and bean bag throwing -, trivia, handicrafts (bead bracelets, fabric corsages etc, you have to buy each kit), one table tennis table only available limited hours, 18 turns around the deck to walk a mile
Small. Old. Worn in places ( carpets, timber deck flooring). Have real keys to open doors, no cards.
majority over 70. Forest of walking sticks and walking frames
hit and miss. Adequate, not huge servings at dinner, offerings at buffets ok, basic selections.
Breakfast and lunch are buffet or dining room, dinner is restaurant only.
Afternoon tea is buffet.
11pm snacks are buffet.
small but at least it has one! 2 walking machines, 2 bikes, few other machines
Deep holes in the ground. The inside one looks like a water tank, outside one looks like a deep square hole. Oh well it is good to get in to cool off but more than two in a pool and it is crowded. Unless you swim in a circle, not much you can do exercise wise besides duck diving. The Outside one needs a shadecloth.
Both shut at 6 can you believe it,,,here in the real tropics it would be nice to swim at dusk!
The inside pool (water tank) is situated right in the middle of the lido deck where breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea are served so unless you want to strip off and entertain the diners, there are only certain blocks of time where you are not surrounded by crowds chowing down and watching you bob up and down like a cork. ok between 10 and 12, 2 and 4, 5 and 6 only.
The outside pool is waaay too hot to be in during the day due to no shade.
Purser staff very pleasant. Cabin steward fine, does his job well, obliging. Bar staff a little sour in discovery lounge. Senior crew mainly middle European and some English, service staff predominantly Philippino.
Ice cream and sorbet available twice a day, lunch and afternoon tea, from a cart on the lido deck, cones and bowls, plus toppings
Coffee and tea
Available 24 hours on lido deck, coffee is strong. A good variety of teas in tea bags, plus slices of lemon, are offered. Cold water is also available at the same area.
Ice for cold water during the day and morning juices (orange, grapefruit, prune) has to be requested at the lido bar (and all bars) and is given to you in a glass. There are no public access ice machines. Ice can be ordered to be delivered to your cabin (decks 4 & 5 have no fridge).
Single beds are quite narrow and hard (decks 4 & 5); approx 85cm in width. Pillows high and medium firm (heard you can request softer thinner ones). Beds made up with one thin quilt and one pillow. Cabins did get cold and more blankets and (very thin) quilts were provided.
Decks 4 & 5 cabins, basic ship bathrooms, adequate storage available. Tip: to get decent hot water in shower you have to turn the dial completely round till it stops.
Deck 4 forward cabin outside has two decent sized portholes, two narrow hard beds, limited storage, two single wardrobe sections, desk with drawers, chair, three drawer chest between beds, tv on wall. The cabins have a variety of layouts depending on size and shape. The safe was on the floor of a wardrobe which meant it was dark plus you had to kneel to access it; hopeless arrangement for elderly passengers. Hopeless reading lights, too dim and too low on the already low bedhead, pillow obscured light so you had to lie on one edge of the bed to be able to read.
Nice and quiet, handy to purser, gangway, lifts
Deck 5 forward cabin outside was a triple room with pulldown bunk. Three wardrobe sections, tv on wall, desk with drawers, chair, three drawer chest next to one bed, wall cupboard with doors and shelves (safe was in here), plus open shelf along one wall under bunk. One reading light hopelessly dim and too low, one bright and situated on a high bedhead. Two good sized windows and deep sill.
Nice and quiet, no noise from nightly shows above in carousel lounge
Seven seas restaurant dinner
6.30 and 8.30 dinners
Food hit and miss. Some meals the vegetables tasted like diesel, inedible. Choice ok, nothing brilliant except for lamb shanks, tiny lobster one night... Rest ok but nothing to look forward to.
Waiters pleasant, unobtrusive, food usually at table hot enough and promptly. Servings very small, most men had to eat all five courses of appetiser (miniscule serving), salad, soup (very small bowl), entree and main. Desserts nothing special, cheesboard not exciting either. Unfortunately there is only this one dining area available at night, no buffet. There is the yacht club which is silver service and for which you have to book (no extra charge) but we heard various people say it was no better than the seven seas restaurant.
Is available, no charge. You CAN order the complete dinner in your cabin if you wish, plus breakfast. Used it twice when ill, both times food arrived within half an hour.
Be advised that a virulent "cold" has been circulating for many months. We suffered from it three out of the four weeks we were onboard. An entertainment member said she "got it every week for months" when she first joined, as it never goes away (she is now immune to it). Symptoms vary from sore throats, nasty hacking coughs, stuffed noses, lots of phlegm coughed up and blown out of nose. Be aware particularly if you are asthmatic. The doctor was very tardy in advising of this and in cautioning people. Masks should have been supplied. Many people avoided going to daily lectures as there were so many coughing and sneezing in the lecture theatre each session (many of whom did not cover their mouths when coughing). There were also some cabins quarantined due to norovirus, so take adequate medications. Note also that the doctor charges quite high for consultations and medications. A number of elderly passengers had to be evacuated at various ports for various medical reasons.
Days on board are pretty bland, the lectures get rather 'school class like' after a few weeks of them, the nightly shows and movies were the same over all three sectors from Sydney!, trivia is only for half an hour and British questions dominate, you only have the choice of indoor games twice a day - quoits, bean bag throwing, carpet golf, attended by serious players who hate to lose-, craft lessons held on sea days each of which has an additional cost, watercolour art class held on sea days only (take your own watercolours brush paper or pay 18 pounds for a complete set)
No outside activities at all
At night there is a singer or entertainment on the aft deck, plus a show inside
The ports we visited more than made up for the shortcomings but we would not cruise on this ship again as it is... However it is going in for a major four month refurbishment in november 2012.
If i had to go on it for more than two weeks would take my own crafts, portable dvd player or downloaded movies, ebook reader loaded with books, mp3 player or similar
Overall it is a quaint ship, with traditional set routines and traditional basic filling food.
*** Certainly not a cruiseship for anyone under 50 for more than two weeks ***
If you cruise from mumbai to safaga and have a cabin with portholes these will be closed NIGHT AND DAY for the duration due to piracy concerns....so in fact you will end up in an 'inside' cabin although you paid for an 'outside'. Due to complaints, this may in future appear on the ships website.
Community Manager's Note: 'This review was written when the ship sailed for Voyages of Discovery. As of February 2013, it is now sailing under the Cruises & Maritime banner"