Paul, Jackie and Gemma (daugter 17)
This was the second cruise with Royal Caribbean departing from Malaga, on the 2nd June 2012 for 7 days.
Disappointing cruise with so many Spanish guests. I guess that's what you get when embarking in Spain!
The ship being almost 12 years old, reflected that fact the swimming pools are filled with salt water!
The entertainment was disappointing, the one main show in the theatre a tribute to ABBA, was average. The backing group were so loud one could not really hear the two girls singing.
The Ice shown, again was average. The best bits were the skaters falling over!
The daytime activities were no more than limited. The real annoying thing was every annocement, speech, commentary or message over the PA system was made in English and then in Spanish. The Spanish version taking twice as long as the English.
We flew out with Monarch, with a departure time of 8:15am from Gatwick. What a disaster this was. The Monarch plane was broken, 2 hours late we took off with Air Finland!
At Malaga airport we had to collect our own luggage, and find the coach to take us to the ship. Once at the ship no help was afforded to us, as to having to take our own cases from the coach to the ship, or if it would be done for use. We eventually were told it would be done for us.
We had only been on board for about 10 minutes and the alarm for the Muster Stations went off, and we had to meet at our Muster Station for the safety drill.
The ports of call during the 7 day cruise were Valencia (spain), Rome (Civitavecchia) Italy, Florence/Pisa (Livorno) Italy, Ajaccio, (Corsica).
Docking at a commercial port Valencia is has it's disadvantages, it costs at least 15 euro's to get of the ship and out of the port on a shuttle bus. They don't tell you this is the brochure! Being there on a Sunday, everything was shut!
Been there before, a few shops not much else. Stayed on the ship.
Livorno -- trip to the leaning tower
Again a commercial port, and another 5 euro's to get off the ship and out of the port. Having got into the main square of Livorno, and having been told on board the ship that the train station would be a 15 minute walk. We found out at the information centre, that it would take another bus, and more expense to get to the station. We decided that we would take the tour bus from the information centre direct to Pisa, but only after having to wait another hour for the bus. The cost would be 15 euro's return and about 30 minutes each on the coach. A lovely visit to the leaning tower, but why build it in the middle of nowhere!, they could of built it closer to the bus park!
By far the best port of call. Step on the ship and 100 yards to the very beautiful port of Ajaccio. Plenty of shops right adjacent the harbour, and just 10 minutes walk round the corner a nice sandy beach. A very nice couple of hours, but, it was very hot. Ajaccio also has a very nice central market with more fruit than I have ever seen in my life.
The return home
Well, what an absolute cock-up. Royal Caribbean could not organise a piss up in a brewery.
Most guest were kicked off by about 9:30. Our cases were taken from us by 11:00pm the night before. Upon arriving back at Malaga, our cases were relocated within the terminal building at the dock side. After we had collected them we then had to fight our way through the mass of people to get outside to a number of coaches ready to take us to the airport. Simple you might say. Wrong! With the coaches all parked in one location a small car park, with hundreds and hundreds of people all trying the a) find the correct coach, and b) trying to load their cases onto the buses, it was just pandemonium. With all these people standing on a marrow footpath no more than about 3m wide, you can imagine the chaos. The Royal Caribbean representatives were not much help, being totally overwhelmed, or just not interested.
After many frantic minutes and much shouting, we did find and get on the correct bus.
So to the airport. It did not get any better here either. On entering the departure hall, we were advised by another Spanish, English speaking representative that we would have to wait in the corner of the hall for an hour before we could join the queue for checking in as they were still dealing with the two earlier flights to Gatwick. After speaking to a number of passengers in the (by then) very long queue we found out that some of them were checking in for the same flight a ours, so we joined this queue.
After about 10 minutes, we overheard some say they were about to open up another two check-in desks. Talk about a stampede.
After another wait of about half an hour, we got checked in, and through to security into the waiting hall. Thousands of passengers and very small seating area. So the floor it was.
After being told two different departure gates, we eventually got to the plane, and took off about 20 minutes late.Monarch flight home got even worse.
We all expected a drink, and a light meal on the way home. Wrong, all food and drinks had to be paid for. Â£4.00 for a round of sandwiches, and Â£1.50 for a very small can of coke. Not even a cup of water was free.
I expect you can a theme here. Cruise with P&O, and don't fly with Monarch.
It's so much easier and less stressful with P&O, and Thomas Cook planes.