Boarding.. Checking in and boarding in Barcelona very fast, one case was in stateroom before we were, the other was held back because of the iron.
(Top tip 1 dont put an iron in your luggage as your case will be held back. A free iron and board is available at reception on request).
(TOP TIP 2 when you board at Barcelona buy alcohol after you pass through the X ray scanners in the terminal before boarding) "wink wink".
The ship -- Old but nice enough, could do with a refit. A lot of the double glazed windows had faulty seals and so had all sorts of things growing between the panes. In all nothing spectacular but clean and comfortable.
Food - Buffet - Raffles Court -- As usual with buffet type dining there is the usual scramble to "bag" a table then up to the counter for the barging to get to the front then have a haw haw hee haw hee haw discussion about having the peas or carrots while others reach around them. Food though plentiful sometimes on the cool side. Others have commented on the stir fry being tasteless but I had one most days and loved it.
(TOP TIP 3 when you go for breakfast they hide the baked beans under the counter about 10.00 so ask if you want them).
Windows Restraunt -- This is where we ate in the evenings rather than taking part in the rugby scrum and food balancing performance in Raffles. (Why do people with a plate stop dead, spin round and walk off while facing the opposite direction)?? The food was always lovely and far better to have it served. I had the strip steak a couple of times and asked for it to be well done, the man at the next table had his medium and I think that a good vet could have had it back in the field no problem.
Drinks - The free coffee was OK but that's it. Beer is as you would expect on a ship at about $6.50 a pint. Pepsi was $2.10 (Both + 15%),
Evening Shows -- These are usually the highlight of our cruises and have seen many variations on previous cruises but the only thing that was different from the Spirit and a Benidorm hotel entertainment was the snake and parrot show. I realise that there are also non English speaking passengers who have to be entertained and these are purely MY views and im not that hard to please. So buckle up here goes.
Stardust Theatre ----
Four Ever... 4 Spanish boys with fantastic voices singing in both Spanish and English, don't miss it.
Showtime On Broadway .... Great dancing and singing.
Acrobatic act ...Don't know I nodded off zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Duo Amaury..... How can I say it? ... Not MY cup of tea!
Showtime Elements .... How can I say it? ... Not MY cup of tea!
The Flamenco's ... MMM??? Guess what? YEP Not MY cup of tea.
Michelle Montouri...Female Singer obviously done her apprenticeship in the northern club circuit singing old standards and telling even older gags about her husband. Simon Cowell would have a field day.
Magician .. I don't like magic coz its not! it's a mechanical illusion. They should also sack the spotlight operator as you could see the assistant running about in the background.
The Spirit Showband... Brilliant musicians and their Glen Miller set is well worth a look (even though he was way before my time).
Overall Stardust rating.. Rubbish. (TOP TIP 3 If in doubt sit at the back so that you can exit by the balcony)
Galaxy of the stars -- here we find the hardest working entertainers on the ship.
The Ironics, Great Keyboard Player, Drummer /Vocalist, Bass/Vocalist and 2 female singers who could really "belt it out"....... Oh and there was also a guy with a guitar.
Cathy and Claudio... Great keyboards and vocals from Cathy.
The Karaoke nights were good and the finals night a great laugh.
Dancing with the stars. A great laugh and well presented watch out for the "loser's corner" on tv.
White Hot Party... This is basically a guy staring at a laptop on stage and bumping out Ibiza Club music to mostly 60 year olds and the cruise staff trying to create an atmosphere.
Champagne -- Latin Express... really talented and a pleasure to listen to.
Stateroom. Clean and tidy and a credit to Marvin our steward. I think that he used a spirit level to line up our shoes. The TV/ fridge "thing" was a bit D.I.Y. meets Ikea looking and out of place. The toilet / shower area was bizarre. Who in their wisdom decided that a shower door was required to divide the toilet from the basin? All it did was create 3 small rooms and a trip or toe stubbing hazard. We had a balcony again and it was just big enough for 2 chairs facing the same direction. Wifi on board is very expensive so wait till you are ashore and connect while having a cheap drink in a bar.
Captain Lars daily update was brilliant and delivered in a very droll manner and so funny. We met him at breakfast one day and he is a very nice in person unlike a lot of captains who can't be bothered.
Overall would I go again? Probably if the itinerary was what I was looking for.