While planning to take a Transatlantic cruise in the spring, personal circumstances dictated that the November crossing was a better choice. I booked through my travel agent, travelling to Lisbon 3 days before the ship sailed.
EMBARKATION - I had only been on one other cruise, however embarking the ship was seamless. It took less than 20 minutes, staff pleasant and helpful and there was a lovely lunch awaiting. Cabins were ready when promised.
CABIN - I booked guaranteed inside, single traveller. There was a very minimal single supplement and was immediately upgraded to a window cabin. I paid for a verandah and was upgraded to a concierge verandah. Cabins are adequately sized, well furnished and there was enough storage. The beds are everything they say. I have never slept so well. Nice size TV with excellent choices. Verandah better than adequate.
STAFF - Just wonderful. Pleasant, helpful and always with a smile. Service excellent in all places. There were only two glitches in my experience here. Once with some failed service recovery in Polo, one of the specialty restaurants and one with a bartender attempting to correct me about a cocktail I ordered. All in all these were nothing compared to the overall level of service
FELLOW PASSENGERS - No children on board, a nice mix of ages, younger than I might have expected. No attitude. As a single traveller, I made a few good friends and many acquaintances. DINING - Generally excellent. I had a bad dinner at Polo, but that will teach me to order lobster on a ship. Toscana was much better. The food in the Grand Dining Room was equal to that in the Restaurants. Tapas is pleasant but seemed to me to be sort of the lunch buffet enhanced. The Terrace has excellent breakfasts and lunch, as does the dining room. the Waves Grill was popular. I did not use room service. There is coffee all morning in Horizons. Great early on; it opens at 0630, but somewhat cooked by closing. Again, service good everywhere
LIFE ON BOARD - This was almost 10 days at sea so this was a very relaxing vacation. Bridge lessons everyday, art classes every other day and when the weather was good, shuffleboard and table tennis. Team Trivia was fun and popular. The shows were enthusiastic cabaret style events which not all liked but I found enjoyable. There were the invariable art auctions. The Spa is attractive, but I suspect like all of them overpriced. I would not use it again, unless perhaps I took advantage of a special. This was not a cruise for someone who wanted a jam-packed vacation, but aped older, more traditional shipboard life.
CAVEATS - The only one I really had was that I was very seasick and while medication was available at reception I didn't know this, and waited until the next morning after I got sick to go to the Infirmary. As the weather was rough the first day or two (Several folks left the ship in the Azores) there should have been some way to make this known to passengers. but I know now for the next time. All in all this was one of the best vacations I have ever had and would strongly recommend it. It was a great trip for me a solo traveller, with friendly faces, great conversation and lots of friends