Fred Olsen flew us to Tenerife via Monarch from Manchester. We couldn't book seats in advance as there was some kind of tension between Monarch and Fred Olsen. The Monarch plane was appalling. Extra seats had been installed and there was no leg room and no air supply for some seats as they were out of sync with the new seating. You could book extra leg room on a few rows on check-in for £30 each way!
After a very claustrophobic flight, the cabin accommodation was very comfortable and the meals throughout the cruise were of a very high standard as was the service throughout. The ship will shortly be refitted and it needs it, but our main concern is that since it was 'stretched' adding more cabins, the publiic rooms cannot cope on bad sea days. The supply of chairs on the decks was good, but in the lounges with all the passengers within the ship, it was impossible to find a seat, especially for the shows in the Neptune lounge. The ship purports to accommodate 929 passengers but on our cruise log from the company there were 1090 which would account for the lack of room.
The shore visits in the Canary Islands were well up to standard and those in the Cape Verde Island, Senegal and the Gambia very chaotic due to the developing nature of those countries although extremely interesting and memorable. There was a problem sometimes with guests not taking note of advice that tours were not for those with walking difficulties but that was not the fault of the company. However, it did seem that the Cruise Director might not have researched some of the African tours enough to ensure they returned to the ship on time to sail - we arrived back one hour late for sailing in Senegal where a seven hour tour turned into a ten hour marathon (with no toilet stops planned), and a half hour late in another port - but that was mainly a problem for the captain.
Overall we are glad we took the cruise - to avoid the weather back home - and we couldn't hold the company responsible that the weather kept us inboard for much of the cruise - but we wouldn't go on this ship again as the lack of space spoilt what could have been a much more positive experience.