This review contains some of my own personal thoughts, opinions and suggestions that could improve your crusing expereince, especially if you are a first time crusier((like me). The review will be seperaetd into three sections. Positive, Negative and would be even better ifs!
Embarkation at Barcelona quick , efficient and hassle free.
Cabin with a balcont worth paying the xtra for and spacious lovely and clean
Drinks package, buy before you cruise. Its great value and not anywhere close to as limited as stated by other reviewers. At somewhere around £16 per person per day it is well worth it, especially if you, like me, make it your lifes work to travel all the way through the cocktail list! There are of course non alcholic cocktails so when you have made your way through the ones containing alcohol and fancy something else, feel free to ask the waiter or bar person to add alcohol of your choice to the non alcoholic ones and they will happily oblige!
The staff on this ship are second to none, always polite, always helpful and even on occasion go above and beyond the call of duty. PLease ensure that you save a few euros for the end of the trip to tip your cabin person as they do an amazing job, often twice a day cleaning and tidying your cabin, should it be required.
The english rep madeline is lovely, knowledgable polite and the epitomy of professionalism. Top marks there.
Trip to pompeii- Do not miss this, this was the very best part of the trip for all of the guests in our party. the sites were amazing and margot the guide was excellent, so much so that we tipped her at the end of the excursion.
Trip to Tunis. no need to buy the expensive excursion. Ten euros will get you on the shuttle bus that drops you at the souk and this is great fun!
Trip to the catacombs- The catacombs are great if not a little scary but get the shuttle bus into town rather than the expensive excursion. the trip is long winded spends too much time in one place and often the commentary takes ages as the tour guide has to describe everything in a number of different languages which on the surface is fine but does become really tiresome and both myself and my sister in law got really agitated by this towards the end of the trip.
savona- simply get off the ship walk into town and sit at the side of the harbour and watch the world go by whilst trying some of the beautiful pasta and pizza on offer its awesome.
Entertainment on board isnt to everyones taste but is fine
Good hairdryer in room
There is an indoor smoking room located on one of the decks look out for Dark vader! The chap who cleans this room comes in with a gas mask on! rightly so but was quite funny the first time we saw him!
For him indoors there is an F1 simulator. Be prepared to be left for long periods of time if your chap is into his motor sport. Testosterone was in buckets and the competition was fierce! Good fun though i was told. Hubby spent almost 100 euros on here so it must have been!
I expereinced a lot of the pushing and shoving and not queing
Food was fine for the first few days but it was never particulalry hot just warm. I suppose only to be expected taking into consideration the amount of people needed to be fed.
A gripe from all our group was that bottled water is not included in the drinks package
The mini bar is expensive and there is a charge for it to be restocked
I love the sun and therefore if you do too i would say dont book to go on a cruise in feb,march etc as you wont see much sun on board you will get some in Tunis though.
No mention of hand hygeine in presentation and few people taking advantage of the hand sanitiser available at most entrances to eating areas. A ship this size could see food poisioning spread quickly,
Decor, not to everyones taste and whilst im no linda barker found it all to bright and gawdy with no where except the cabin to give the eyes a rest.
Quality of the coffee at breakfast is rubbish and the hot water is only hot not boiling so even if you were to take your own t bags it doesnt make a decent cuppa.
if you like a sing song and see karaoke on your 'today' magazine, dont get excited, its mainly in other languages, you dont stand a hope in hell of being able to get up and sing, the screen wobbles all over the place and the graphics are pants.The compare gets people in the wrong order so it causes loads of confusion, give this one a wide berth(excuse the pun)
Even better if
You dont go expecting The QE2 (as was)
Your happy to mingle with individuals that have no manners and can overlook this
Water was included in drinks package
You go in the warmer months (obviously you will pay more)
The decor was toned down in a few areas
The food was hot
Finally I have said that i would be unlikely to cruise again. The main reason for this is that the whole experience simply reminded me of all inclusive holidays that i had previously on land, without the benefit of being able to jump on a bus or a taxi whenever i felt like it. Therefore i found it restrictive. However i have considered this in more depth and come to the conclusion that if i had gone during the warmer months, and perhaps to a smaller ship and to better destinations that i could be persuaded to try it again. As a woman in my early 40s i ditched all inclusive type holidays when i didnt have my children in tow,. Cruising isnt for everyone but if you like the all inclusive vibe then you will be fine and it is something that you need try at least once.