The staff on this rather exciting itinerary off the beaten path for most Americans was excellent. I have never seen a harder working or more dedicated staff. Our Grand suite was well designed except for the bathroom which was a nightmare when showering. I cannot imagine what the designers were thinking. The color scheme in the suite was depressing. The carpeting in the halls was often stained and looked dirty. Part of the problem was the color pallet of taupe grey and maroon but large stains on deck seven were inexcusable.
There were two chefs on board, but the food was poor. The baked goods always tasted stale because I think they were baked too far in advance and left in the kitchen to dry out. They were the same everyday. For ten days the rolls, cookies etc. were always the same. The fish which was mostly frozen had no texture and resulted from probably poor defrosting and refrigeration techniques. Even the souffle made by the visiting chef at a special lunch was heavy and lacked the lightness and airiness usually found.
The kitchen, seen on a tour, was out of date and the general order reflected the inability to make anything but the most basic institutional food found in a cafeteria despite the interesting description on the menu.The chef's office and desk looked like a bomb had hit it. The painted metal was scratched and peeling. There was saran wrap in shreds on the racks in front of the cooking stations. It was puzzling. Even a simple thing like a piece of garlic toast served with an appetizer was not hot. The toast was made in advance and served cold. The smoked salmon was poor quality served in thick pre cut slices and not worth eating.
The best and most surprising thing was the excellent lectures. They were among the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship, General Michael Rose and Tim Hughes made the days at sea a delight.