After many cruises, I found myself impressed with the efficiencies upon embarkation. It no time we found ourselves aboard and ready to settle down in the Windjammer for some lunch. It would have been nice to have accessed our cabins and unloaded for more freedom, but cabin access would have to wait until 1:00pm.
I was unimpressed with the quality of the food, as I was expecting more variety in the lunch buffet. The parmesan cheese tasted bad, and the bolognese sauce lacked the wholesome flavor of tomatoes. I tried the paella, and found that to be adequate. This was just the beginning of our disappointment with the ship's food. Only three nights did we find the food to be pleasing.
The service was excellent with the exception of our one breakfast encounter with servers who seemed to not want to acknowledge the existence of the ladies at the table. Throughout that breakfast experience, I heard nothing but "sir" this and that. I had to literally serve myself. Oh well... I suppose some cultures have not caught up with the times of equality in service, regardless of who is tipping. We also made reservations in Portofinos where the service was excellent and unfortunately the food was just adequate to our dismay. Only made "one" reservation there, unlike previous repetitions at private dining elsewhere.
We found the bars to be rather dismal with exception to the Crown & Kettle. The chemistry amongst staff and entertainment made for a fun time. We found ourselves, regardless of the smoke annoyance, to be drawn to this pub night after night to join in with the wit of the staff and the interaction/participation with the entertainer "Shane Topper". God Bless you Shane. Thanks for the fun Geremie, Angelo & Donnie! Normally we join in on the fun at the piano bar where the entertainer is/was exceptionally talented, but unfortunately unapproachable. Not exactly what you would expect since we normally sit at the piano and sing with the entertainer, but hardly anyone would even approach the piano. We made one trip to the piano bar and merely passed the other bars which seemed to lack in entertainment that one would want to participate in with the other people. No Chemistry or chain reactions to start off the fun. Something was obviously missing in the bars. It should have been the smoke! Smoke seemed to be everywhere.
The spa was certainly a great place to go to relax, except only "one" jet worked in the huge jacuzzi. It seemed as though no one had service it in awhile. Make an appointment for a massage or take time off at the Razul for a deep skin cleansing and rinsing. Very invigorating and relaxing! We are avid users of this service, and found the service to be exceptional to the point of repeating. Thanks Marta and Richelle!
We also enjoyed the Skating Show. The performers were amazing to watch. The evening entertainment in the Theatre was nice. We found ourselves laughing quite a bit with the comedians performances. We did not enjoy coming a half hour early to sit in the front row only to be asked 3 minutes before show time to move because our twelve year old was a child. Our son had not even moved a muscle as we all waited for the show to start, in the mean time there were children under ten in the front wing row jumping up and down and rolling around the floor near the steps where the performers climb before and during show time and not one staff person even approached them yet they had the nerve to ask us to move just before the show started! Never-the-less the show went on and we maintained our seating.
We took our own excursions. And we enjoyed our individual freedom without the masses. Hallelujah!
It was hard to believe how much abuse the ship has taken in only the few years it has been sailing by passengers and such. Sofas needed reupholstering, cushions were stained and sticky, pillows were very flat to sleep with, and apparently some passengers need lessons on respecting not only their property but the property of the cruise line. We found chocolate smeared over rocks around the mini golf course, food and drink cups leaning and tipped over spilling in public places.
The adult area of the pool had babies in diapers in the Jacuzzi and children. It seemed as though certain areas to get away to where not being enforced. They should just merge the adult area into the public area if they don't plan on giving "adults" any adult time off. And diapers in the jacuzzi is rather grotesque considering whatever is in the diaper is being subjected to heated water. YUCK!
Thank you Photographers for not hounding us! This was probably the first cruise I enjoyed having the option to select my paparazzi moments. Thank you.
Disembarking was pretty efficient as well. Everything seemed organized.
Well... time to contemplate my next adventure... Until then...