Our first cruise, entered with a spirit of hope and excitement soon to be dashed!
The initial shock was the wave of disembarking passesnges at Barcelona who almose trampled us as we tried to board and the slow and inefficient boarding procedures.
After hours of queueing, a very friendly member of staff brought us to our well appointed cabin. The cleanliness of the ship and efficiency of the cleaning staff were the highlight of the tour.
Such efficiency was not displayed at reception. After a long queue to inquire about getting an electrical adaptor to plug in my laptop [i.e. to convert from British to European sockets], I was met with bewilderment and then directed to the photographic shop which did not open till later. At the shop they could not help me and were surprides and amused that I had been sent to them. I solved my problem by borrowing the adaptor from another guest.
The meeting for English speaking guests was poorly presented, told us nothing we had not already read in the brochure and concentrated on selling us onshore trips.
Lifts were very crowded and involved long waits, especially at mealtimes. Meals were of very variable quality with the coffee particularly awful. Dress code for formal evenings was not enforced and waiters had obviously never heard of 'serve from the left, remove from the right'. I'm quite happy in informal surroundings but since the documentation sent to us stressed the fun and glamour of formal dinners, it's a pity they did not deliver in the promise. Menus were quite restricted and food was boring after a few days. The upstairs buffet was a bleak, overcrowded and inhospitable place.
In the dining room, tables were set very close toghther with some waiters quite rude in pushing past guests to get to tables. When dishes such as shellfish were served, no finger bowls were provided.
Wireless boradband was very expensive and hopelessly slow.
So overall a crowded, regimented experience which had pretentions to glamour and sophistication and certainly did not live up to them. A pity - other guests with experience of cruising with other lines told us this was the worst organised they had come across.