My wife and I have just returned from a cruise on the Musica to Brazil which was most disappointing. The ship was excellent and the crew kept it in exceptionally fine condition. The boarding and disembarkation arrangements worked well and organised tours were all very informative and interesting. The evening theatre events were often spectacular and the theatre was worthy of the West End of London.
Without wishing to go into great detail the standard of food was not up to the standard that one would expect. Breakfast was a buffet that was of a good quality, lunch was ok but the desserts were very poor except for the fresh fruit. Dinner served in the dining room was based on a different country every evening. Whilst the idea was good there was no occasion that the food was served hot. All cooked meals were tepid and were frequently sent back to be reheated. The desserts, in many cases, lacked imagination and the cheese, served was more like plastic than good quality cheese, this from a country that has some of the best cheeses in the World.
During the afternoon, tea and coffee was served with bread rolls filled with ham and cheese and occasionally something else. Not very appetising. Cakes of a sort were available usually as a dry spongy cake with a thin layer of nondescript filling.
Apart from the food we were surprised to discover that tea, coffee and water could only be obtained by purchasing it from the bars except at breakfast and tea time. All other beverages and drinks had to be purchased at excessive prices. An average drink at the bar would cost in excess of £5 and a bottle of "duty free" wine at the table or in the bar was about 20 euros. Here I am not talking about exceptional wines just ordinary run-of-the mill Italian wines that should have been at duty free prices.
Ice cream was available, only at one bar, at a price.
The shops on board and treatment services that were offered were at very high prices. The shops' prices were far in excess of those at the non-duty free shops at the airports and were certainly not good value, The ship had no shop from which you could purchase, say toothpaste or soap or any everyday item that might be required by the traveller.
The laundry was very expensive at 50 euros for 10 items and there were no laundrette facilities on board.
Finally we missed our plane home because there had been an accident on the road to Sao Paolo airport. Organising this last day tour, so far away from the airport was unwise, for not only were we in the bus for six and an half hours, missing the plane by at least two hours, we arrived home a day an half late. Apparently being late is not uncommon on this tour and the distances involved from Santos to Sao Paolo airport make delays quite possible.
We have spoken to many people who are regular cruisers, who were most surprised by the facts that we have stated above.
To sum up: The cruise was very disappointing for many reason but mostly to do with the high prices and the relatively poor meals. Even worse than this is the fact that it has taken me years to persuade my wife to go on a cruise, only to be disappointed by this cruise. She now says that she will never go on one again
Our comments about the overall cruise run into many pages and would not fit into this space.In effect the cruise was a great disappointment. The food was poor and unimaginative and was always served cold. There were no laundrette facilities and the ship's laundry was very expensive- ten items costing 50 euros. Wine and drinks that should have been at duty free prices were very overpriced- a modest bottle of wine was charged at 20 euros and a gin and tonic was about 6.80euros.Yhe tours were well organised but there were no lectures about the places we were to visit. The activities on board were restricted to embroidery, chess and bridge with a few morning talks but little else. The final day's tour ended up with us missing the flight.