Although we have been cruising since 1975 on various cruise lines we have always wanted to visit Iceland and a cruise from Southampton to Reykjavik, Akureyri, Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands and then Norway was an attractive itinerary.
We were in an aft balcony stateroom on deck 8 which was well equipped, and excellent shower room, flat screen TV and tea making facilities. Although a bit narrow was average for the type of stateroom.
Facilities within the ship were generally good, but with 3800 passengers the swimming pools were a bit crowded on sea days when the sun was shining. Deck space was adequate with plenty of areas to relax and read/sunbathe. Changing facilites within Aqua Spa area for those not coming to the pool in swimwear was appalling. There are only about 20 lockers for men and the same for women. On many occasions they were all taken and one needed to leave clothes in a plastic bag with Aquaspa reception. There are male and female only saunas but no steam room unless you pay for an Aqua Spa supplement. The male sauna would only comfortably accommodate about 8 people which was very cramped consdiering the number of passengers on board.
Breakfast and lunch buffet food was average to good but on sea days somewhat crowded a lunchtimes and one needed to wait for a table to become vacant.
Dinner is either in the Moonlight Sonata restaurant with two sittings or freedom dining if booked beforehand and tips paid up front. There are an adequate number of tables for two if one preferred not to share. Food was typically American with copious quantities of steak in various forms but presentation lacks finesse and virtually all meals include mashed potatoes. We were never offered "small new potatoes" and vegetables were somewaht scarce unless one asked for them. Tables are extremely close together and the dining room therefore seems very cramped. Alternative dining in three restaurants is available but supplements between $30/$40 US is charged. Liquor prices are quite high and the cheapest bottle of basic house wine about $30 and anything decent in excess of $50
Disembarkation at ports visited is a challenge trying to get so many passengers off the ship to the waiting coaches was complicated particularly as the gangplanks were very steep on some locations.
Embarkation at Southampton was poor, long lines waiting to check in and nowhere to sit whilst waiting to do so. We waited 45 minutes in line and after check in a long walk to the ship.
The facilities for young children and teenagers seemed good but we do feel that young children should not be allowed in the dining room for dinner. At 8.30 there were small children (two/three years old) having dinner with their parents and once th children had finished they were naturally bored and started to make a noise. Breakfast and lunch is understandable but in the evening, bearing in mind that there are childrens meals available and various facilites to cater for them this is not an ideal arrangement by cauding a disturbacne to other guests out to enjoy their evening.