Where do I begin?
This was the start of the nightmare! From arrival to being checked in took 1 1/4 hours. Firstly, as all cruise travellers know, you have to complete a very simple health declaration, prior to joining the queues. As there were no or very few staff around, this had to be done at the same time as checking in, which held up the process. Added to this were "system problemsâ€ which, even as a single traveller took around 10 minutes and I had everything to hand!!
Once on board, no staff were available to escort guests to their stateroom. Thank god I was experienced but even then I had to look around for the lifts.
Guest services and drinks package
On arrival at the guest services I said that I wished to pay by cash (which went down like a lead balloon!!). I handed over $250 and combined to this was an on board credit of $25. The drinks package as advertised was $49 per person per day therefore $196, leaving me with $79 for any other incidentals.
However, I could not book the drinks package with them; this had to be done at any bar. So off to the bar where I was told the price was $245 ($61.25 per day) - AN INCREASE OF 25%. Having chosen this option I was not happy but agreed to go ahead which still left me with $30 credit on the account. I hadn't planned on going on any excursions, so no problems " OR SO I THOUGHT.
Later that night I was refused a drink " why? - Because there were "insufficient funds in my account. Back to guest services, where I was told that all drinks consumed were charged to the account in addition to the drinks package and that they would only be removed the night prior to disembarkation. UNBELIEVABLE. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had no choice but to either pay an extra $300 in cash or on a debit/credit card. I never established what would have happened if I didn't have any more cash or a card with me.
There is no reason at all why any guest should have to pay more than double to amount
Guess what on the morning of departure, the account had additional spurious charges on it which took another 15 minutes before the balance of money was paid back to me.
The drinks package quite clearly states that it included unlimited soft drinks NOT TRUE. It included draft soft drinks but not bottled soft drinks or bottled water for which there was a charge of circa $2.50. They even charged $12 per person to go on a shuttle from the ship to the town at each port.
"Guest services on this cruiseship really means "the ship's crew are always right and the sooner you, the guests understand that, the betterâ€
"At sea days
Whilst there are a very large number of sun lounges, there are not enough when the ship is full and even if there were, there is not enough room on the decks for them. This means that unless you are up and out at the crack of dawn on sea days, you may well find yourself either in one of the lounges or your stateroom as some of the other travellers were. I was quite lucky; I managed to get one of the remaining beds that were crammed together like sardines in a tin on one of the top decks.
Studios for single travellers
The whole idea of staying in a single studio was to enjoy the experience of meeting other single travellers in the dedicated private studio lounge, which had a dedicated member of staff who, according to the daily news sheet, would meet you for one hour per day to be of total assistance to you, including booking the speciality restaurants etc.
Silly me!! In the main, these studios were occupied by groups rather than single travellers but more to the point, the staff member had no interest in the guests who, like me, were on a four day cruise. She was only interested in the transatlantic passengers. When we refused to eat at 18:00 (the time specified by the transatlantic passengers) she said "well I don't know what to do nowâ€ "you will have to make your own arrangementsâ€. I could go on and on about the staff member but I think you've got the gist of her take on customer service
Any redeeming features? Yes, overall the standard of the entertainment was high but, I'm sorry to say that's it " except for the food, which, whilst not being fine dining, was on balance, an acceptable quality.
Would I recommend this ship " never unless you are on a tight budget, have a credit or debit card with at least $100 per day available and you only drink socially.
Conned and bad service from embarkation to disembarkation