We'd always assumed cruising was not for us. We feared cheesy entertainment, rigorous dress codes, tiny cabins, boring table mates who we could not escape.... Our 3 night mini cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam was a pleasant surprise.
The embarkation and dis embarkation processes were quick and painless, our mid price range cabin clean, quite roomy and comfortable, the public areas of the ship pleasant, and best of all the people we shared a table with were great fun. The shower was tricky to use, I soaked the floor at the first attempt, but by the time we returned to bed that night, it had all been cleaned. Yes, the entertainment was like something out of a Russian Holiday camp (if you can imagine such a thing) but the novelty of that entertained me, in itself. Three nights was probably enough of it, I can see how longer cruises might drag on that front. Late nights in the Captain's Bar were the best, with music to dance to and excellent bar staff serving reasonably priced cocktails. We had one rough-ish evening's weather, and I can easily see how bad weather would make for a horrible cruise, but surely that's the fault of the weather and if you do go away in December, in the worst winter for 100 years.... We got away lightly. We loved our visit to Amsterdam, you can easily walk into the city from the dock. At Ghent we went on a coach tour to Brussels, which in retrospect was a waste of time since we could have just gone to Ghent on the shuttle bus and had much more time there. We do not have any other cruises to compare this to, but we felt the ship was homely and comfortable and despite what is being said currently, well maintained. The crew worked very hard, health and safety was very well attended to. Only disappointment was that the food did not live up to what it was trying to be. It was edible, but rather ordinary and in some cases, strange. On our table we just giggled about the strangeness. Dress code is not scary, smart casual serves, you don't need to worry about having the latest or most expensive clothes. All in all we enjoyed it and will cruise again!