We were given an embarkation time of 0300-0345 and arrived at Southampton railway station at 0245 quickly finding a taxi but then were stuck in a traffic jam "the football was on". Arrived at the terminal at 0315 and waited with a coloured ticket for a short time a bit like being at the Argus shop. Soon our colour came up and we checked in. There was quite a long queue for the security check and we arrived on board at 0345 and wondered what to do. We went to our cabin but as we were walking up the stairs an announcement informed us that there would be a muster drill shortly and we needed to get out life jackets and go to the muster station, we had not even found our cabin! Once in the cabin a hasty exploration uncovered the life jackets, they were in the wardrobe. There was a knock on the door and Sudhakar the excellent, friendly, cabin attendant introduced himself, we explained that we had only just arrived, he asked if we had received our luggage and immediately said he would go and find it for us and put it in our cabin. We found the muster station and then decided to go and have a drink as we had not eaten since breakfast. Glasses of Champagne were offered as we went up the stairs for the leaving party but a cup of tea and some food took priority so we missed the event. I think 0300 was far too late to arrive everything seemed rushed and it spoilt the initial holiday experience and we missed the introductory tours of the venues.
Our cabin a larger outside one on A deck was much bigger than I expected, everything was working, there was a chair and a stool, ample hanging and drawer space and room to move around. The ensuite was a bit bijoux but functional. The down side was it was immediately under the bridge at the front of the ship and very bumpy in the moderate to rough seas we experienced for most of the cruise.
We wandered round the ship on the first morning avoiding our very mobile cabin, sampling the entertainment on offer,the wine tasting, cookery demonstration, the film and a quiz. There seemed to be a different thing going on in every space "Its a bit like a posh Butlins" my husband commented. The conversation for the first three days revolved around cures for sea sickness and who of their party was ill. A roaring trade in extra strength sea sickness tablets (which seemed to make you fall asleep) and wrist bands occurred. We settled into a routine stretch class (most enjoyable),gym (walking seems to use very few calories), breakfast, film, lunch, quiz, show, evening meal.
The meals were all excellent and the waiting staff efficient and friendly. We thought we were the 8.30 sitting but upon arriving were informed we were freedom dining. I really enjoyed the flexibility of freedom dining, we always chose to share a table and met a variety of different people. We tended to go to the shows first and ate after so didn't have to clock watch whilst dining and the earlier shows were not so full.
The shows were excellent all were new to us as it was out first cruise and Jane Middleton as Cher and Annie Lennix was very good. We also enjoyed watching the films again all new to us.
In Maderia our first port of call we were hoping to see the sun but it was mainly cloudy with some squally showers a bit of a disappointment. We went on the full day trip of the island quite expensive but very good. We saw a lot of
the island and sugarcane being crushed, but we really didn't need the 3 course
meal at lunchtime, a snack would have done.Very rough seas over night.
Next stop La Palma the trip we had planned to do was cancelled so we booked the Heart of La Palma and had an enjoyable time in a national park and a short walk. Still not much sunshine but warmer. We also had time to do a little shopping, La Palma seemed very good value for money.
Next day Santa Cruise Tenerife and a hike today in Monte Teide National Park and finally the sun came out. The hike was very good we saw lots of lizards and learnt about all the different types of Larva. It was a shame we had to leave Santa Cruise at 0500 because we would have liked to have had time to look round the town.
Travelling back north but we had some sun and calmer seas over the next two days and I finally managed to get in the pool!Would have been good to visit another island and forgo La Porto and stay in the warmer weather longer.
La Porto back to cloudy weather no trip this time but we walked round the city, visited a port lodge and went on the cablecar and to a very good cake shop
Finally we visited La Coruna looked like a nice city but we went on the Santiago de Compostela tour, very interesting but a bit cold and rainy. Leaving no time to see La Coruna.
Travelling back we again had cloudy skies, moderate to rough seas and even some snow! Embarkation slick and speedy. Would I go on another cruise, possibly but I would go on board earlier and I've got 4kg to loose first.