Once on board, we decided, as the weather was not great, to indulge in a sail away drink. My wife ordered fresh orange, I ordered Sam Adams. "Sorry sir, we will not have Sam Adams until we stock the bar, but should have it tomorrow". Not a great first impression.
Having been called to pre-sail muster station safety briefing, we were a bit surprised that we did not need to take our life jackets and that the muster station was on deck 4 - outside. It was all very relaxed until the captain came on the public address system and walked us through the actions to take in the event of an emergency. His final briefing was to remind everyone to remember their personal behaviour and that of their children, warning everyone that unruly behaviour would not be tolerated. My wife and I have been on several cruises and were surprised and rather uncomfortable about the type of people on the cruise. We discovered that during the cruise, two families were evicted in Palma, after fighting on deck. Another were set ashore after letting their fifteen year old son get steaming drunk on whiskey.
We met some lovely couples on board but there were some other people on board who, frankly, I would not like to bump into on a night out. Rough as the roads!
The ports visited were absolutely wonderful. However, the service was, sometimes, appalling. On a number of occasions, I was informed that the drink I requested was not available and I would have to choose an alternative.
The final two days were a complete write off. Travelling across the Bay of Biscay does not allow any deck time, We tried but, after wrapping ourselves in towels and blankets for fifteen minutes, we gave up. Perhaps that is why someone resorted to shop-lifting. Really? Where did they think they were going to hide? Well, in the brig until we reached Southampton is the answer.
We will never sail out of Southampton again. We will fly to Ft Lauderdale and sail the Caribbean with decent folk and receive good service. Something the Americans take for granted. Obviously something that the English are not afforded, when sailing out of Southampton.
I have been in touch with RCI since we returned and received the usual sort of "your comments are noted" response.