BOOKING i booked this as a group cruise. i managed to get a share in an outside cabin which saved me £100.
EMBARKATION i got train from waterloo east to dover priory where a free shuttle bus was waiting to take me to the cruise terminal. the newer terminal terminal 2 was used. i entered and filling out form to say i have not been ill. i went upstairs to go through x ray and check in. there was only a short queue for check in. i told them that i had the only ticket, they said when he turned up he would be allowed onboard. after having my picture taken i entered the ship showing my cruise card. then was told where my cabin was.
CABIN i had 4136 on coral deck 4 i entered to to find mike's bag already there. a large cabin with a picture window and another locked window inside spoiling the view a bit. loads of drawer space much more than both of us needed. nice size bathroom with a shower, a safe that did not seem to work! after meeting mike my cabinmate who seemed very nice. we saw our stewardess NOON who i told about the safe. they got some batteries and it was up and running.
MEET AND GREET as i had a welcome aboard at 1800 i had a quick meet in the observatory lounge with a few couples which was very nice.
WELCOME ABOARD at 1800 a welcome aboard was arrange from ships monthly at the lido lounge with wine and canapes which was a nice way of meeting the other 39 in our group.
DINING at 1830 1st sitting we went to deck 6 the BALLINDAROCK RESTAURANT we all were seated together which was good. the food was nice, the waiter was very helpful TEN. but they were trying to push the bottled water a bit. later we all got tap water which was free. i ordered a bottles of wine which was cheaper than a glass of wine everynight, as mike did not want any wine. we had 2 formal nights,1 western, 1 british night and 1 casual. there was turkey served and christmas pudding and the baked alaska parade which is always worth seeing. the creme brulee was ok but not as good as others i have had. i went to the buffet in palms cafe one night it was indian buffet which was nice. there were 6 of us there. for breakfast there was open sitting in palms cafe and ballindarock restaurant both doing a buffet. the other 2 restaurants spey and avon we did not try. they had the swiss muesli in the dining room it was good but not as good as i have made at home(there was something missin)
EXCURSIONS the ones they had for AAHUS did not look very good but through SHIPS MONTHLY we got a free excursion in each port. AAHUS we had a trip to eemshaven to see the wooden frigate that was the highlight. unlike the christmas market that was the LOWLIGHT. as it was dark only a few stalls there and a few old houses to look at. we did not want to wait another hour to get on the coach. so we made our way back to the ship on our own. HAMBURG we did a did on a steamship and the refrigerator ship CAP SAN DEIGO i thought it was an english tour but it was a self guided one. AMSTERDAM we had a canal trip and saw a lot, the captain had great sense of humour and was passed very close to our ship.
ENTERTAINMENT was 1st rate DON REID comedian was good, as was ANDREW ROBLEY thew singer. the highlight was DOMINIC HALPIN AND THE HONEY BEES a fantastic group. the production show i missed but hear it was not the best dave
SHOPS not a great selection of souvenirs, no t shirts with the ship on, no pin badges. or the key ring with the ship on i got on the braemar.
PHOTOS good selection but no prices up 8.95 for most but portaits were 19.99. the dvd wasc good value though.
MY THOUGHTS i love the ship after hearing many mixed reviews she was very easy to get around,. shame we could not get a bridge tour though