The 'base line' for our cruise around the British Isles was somewhat different to the final amount we paid. However, it fell within our budget and we booked accordingly. Had we not cruised before we might have thought that this trip on Discovery was up to the usual standards expected on cruises. However, we had cruised several times before and therefore noticed the places where standards fell short of what might be considered appropriate.
Our cabin, which was not the cheapest, was perhaps the smallest in which we had ever cruised but it was adequate - just.
The food was usually of acceptable standard but of course, we felt we were paying for spectacular and this is not what we received. It did not compare well with other cruise lines we had experienced.
What struck us most, and immediately, was the price level of absolutely everything on board. To begin with: we were told that because many people found it difficult to decide how to tip etc. the company would apply a £10 per day per cabin gratuity charge to our bill. Eventually we had to advise the ship's staff by means of a form that we did not wish to pay this in order to have the charge lifted. (This was not generally known by passengers!) Many elderly people did not realise that this was an option and duly paid their £90 per couple. If all on board did this it would add in the region of £35,000 to the cruise income - useful!
Although Piracy on the High seas has long been outlawed when carried out by people who carry swords it is alive and well on Discovery minus the swords. Try £2.05 (why the extra 5p??) for a 330ml can of lemonade, £24 for a moderate quality bottle of wine, £2.30 for 20ml of indifferent German beer - and this is duty free!! Then just look at the cost of photographs on board! A great many people bought drinks ashore for use on the ship, and among these were several crew members! Incredible.
Tours offered ashore were many and quite varied however try this for size: £50 each for a 3 hour city tour of Dublin (includes 40 minute river tour), £65 per person for a trip across Mull to Iona or also on Mull £29 each for a walking tour, yes, seriously! And why did the cruise director advise us to take the boat's trip to Inverness (for £52 per couple - over 50p per mile!) 'as the service bus takes a long time to return'? The 25x goes direct from Invergordon to Inverness and it's about a fifth of the amount the ship charges.
On the plus side the crew were friendly and helpful (except for one snooty blonde bird on Reception) although their English was sometimes limited. The other passengers were very friendly and the shows in the evening were very professional.
I realise any company needs a mark-up in order to exist but why did they spoil my trip with such extortionate pricing. Like many of my fellow passengers I'll go elsewhere next time - there's lots to chose from!