We chose this back-to-back cruise the the itinerary .... Iceland and then the north cape and Spitsbergen. We were not expecting luxury but we could find virtually nothing to recommend this line. The ship is tired and needs a major refurb or scrap. The showers don't work properly throughout the ship ... The water is either scalding hot or freezing cold. The buffet consistently runs out of food, plates, and/or cups. The food is mediocre and I've never sailed on a ship where you have to constantly ask for water at the table and the after dinner coffee/tea is never refilled.
If you don't want to do organised tours at every stop, forget it. You'll find the ship pulling into stops for only 3-4 hours at times where there is no time for the independent traveller to see anything. This ship is completely geared to tours with no info for indies. If the ship is tendered, the indies are the very last to be allowed ashore.
Overall, the crew rarely smiles. Of course, you'll find exceptions but you do feel as though you are putting them out.
On the plus side, we found the entire staff at the reception desk to be as good and efficient as any we have ever run into....also very friendly.
While I have no problem boarding by deck, with the suites boarding first, the same thing happens on disembarkation without regard to when you have to leave to catch a plane. IF you need to disembark early and are on one of the lower decks, you must notify them BUT you must struggle off with all your luggage by yourself!
We also noted that there were, not surprisingly, a fair number of passengers with mobility issues. The crew/staff virtually never offered help and the gangway was really difficult for them. We have seen much more care in other cruise lines
The port is an easy bus ride to the Center of edinburgh. There is a huge amount of stuff do do in this wonderful city
Really enjoyed walking around but be warned that the port charges about Â(EURO)10 return on the shuttle bus to the city! We've never stuck this before