After just completing our first ever cruise starting and finishing in Venice, all I can say is it will be a long time before we do that again. Admittedly, I was a little forewarned about the perils of cruising and I had my concerns about the short shore stops and long time in a confined space but many seem to enjoy them, so I thought it was time to check it out. Here were my observations, not all negative:
1. Ship - quiet spectacular interior albeit a little over the top given the clientele.
2. Ship crew (captain and underlings) - no comments as I didn't encounter either. Which by the way isn't a criticism, their job is to move the ship to where it needs to go and they did.
3. Ship cabin and service crew - lovely, lovely, lovely and as I found out very underpaid and kept captive on the ship for considerable periods of time. This I felt truly sad about and was at times not happy that I had contributed to this injustice. (I wondered why the initial cost of the cruise was cheap and wondered what the hidden catch was. I guess the catch is cheap labour and extensive 'other' charges).
4. Clientele in queues - O.M.G no one told me how rude many Europeans are when it comes to queues. They push in, jump the line, NEVER say excuse me! Australians generally have a very strict line rule - first in line goes first.
5. Clientele at the buffet - O.M.G the breakfast buffet (AKA pig trough) was like feral time at a feeding zoo. Plates piled high with so much food of different types. Food that should never be seen on the same plate. All this repeated at dinner time. The flip side is, we've never seem so much food thrown out at clean up time.
6. Clientele lift manners- O.M.G the same rude line jumping pushers displayed the same lack of manners when getting on and off the lifts. Generally the rule is you wait until the people exit the lift before getting on. You DON'T under any circumstanced barge in while people are trying to get out. And if you do so my accident, you say 'excuse me'!
7. 12 euro for 10 minutes WiFi - are you kidding me? That's blatant robbery.
8. Thank goodness for the restaurant otherwise we wouldn't have eaten after the spectacle at the buffet.
9. Be warned, the expensive excursions come with a side of selling. In Istanbul we did our first shore excursion and part of it was a rug demonstrations. While the so called rug demonstration was in progress, six men, who obviously worked at the rug shop started to circle us. They all looked a bit shady and I wondered what was going down. Once the demonstration was over they all descended on the unwary (us) and tried to sell us 12,000 euro rugs. Do people really wake up one day and say "lets go on a shore excursion to buy a 12,000 euro rug?".
10. Forget about having a spa. The 6-8 100kg men hogging them may not feel like sharing with you. Besides, the colour of the spa water with all those men made me want to puke.
11. We weren't the only Aussies on the ship with the same observations. Maybe go on a pacific cruise and just hope the same rude people don't join you. Better still go to Bali as many of the lovely staff were from Bali and the work dried up for them after the bombings. Some truly sad stories of long times away from family.
Maybe I should wait to write a review, the experience is still raw!