i have cruised many times but my husband was on his first voyage.
we sailed on the discovery to the north cape to see the northern lights.
firstly, in defense of a classic ship, yes she is old, yes she has no balconies, she isn't a floating block of flats with a climbing wall or a florider. she is an old fashioned classic cruiser. a little rough around the edges, but all the more charming for it.
embarkation - couldn't have been simpler, avonmouth port is easy to fine, easy parking, friendly staff.
the actual process was quick and simple, and before we knew it we were on board and being shown to our cabin.
cabin - compact, but it had everything we could need. we were in an outside twin on bali deck, our cabin steward was lovely, polite, helpful and our cabin was always made up beautifully.
food - lido buffet, a bit school dinnerish, but good food and plentiful. seven continents restaurant - wonderful food, excellent staff, had the right atmosphere without being stuffy and pretentious.
the free tea and coffee station on lido deck was an added bonus, although it would have been great if this had stayed open later as those of us late night northern light spotting could have done with a brew at 2am, but a minor quibble.
entertainment- was excellent, be it daytime, quizzes, deck games, films, etc, or evening, wonderful cabarets, stage shows or late night music. the entertainments team do a fantastic job, but are never pushy. you can do as much or as little as you like.
lectures - our cruise had a number of guest lecturers, all were informative and entertaining, especially the one about how to commit the perfect murder by tony thompson !!
excursions- we felt at first these were pricey, but after we had been shopping in norway we realized this was due to the high cost of living there and not down to the cruise company. the trips we went on were well run, and very interesting. overall, good value for money.
facilities on board - everything you could need, cinema, pools, whirlpools, little shop ( could be better stocked with everyday items you might have forgotten to pack), plenty of lounge space, quiet corners to watch the sea go by. in cabin laundry service was good, as was room service.
prices on board - drinks were just below pub prices, but water in the cabin a little on the steep side, soft drinks a little pricey, but overall good. shop prices were a little high, especially for chocolate and crisps.
disembarkation- because we had to wait for the coaches to take us from liverpool to avonmouth, this took a little time, and having to be packed and cleared out of the cabin by 7am made for a very long day, 8am would have been a little kinder!
overall - this is a well run ship, we were kept informed of any changes, sea conditions, sights of interest on the voyage etc. we had a wonderful time and are already booking our next trip on this great little cruise ship.
don't be put off by negative reviews, if you want an old fashioned, proper cruise without all the disney razzamatazz, on a classic ship, with interesting ports of call then book a trip on the discovery.
cruise maritime voyages - have taken a bit of a bashing recently, but are an efficient company, with friendly, helpful staff, ready to help with any questions you might have.