Since our return , my wife and I have have debated if cruises really are for us.So I have tried to give an honest and balanced view of our hols.
What did we expect ? Our expectations were high.Expecting a 5 Star floating hotel ,excellent service ,first rate facilities and a wide variety of entertainment , with relaxed and informative shore excurtions .
Did this meet our expectations? Overall no ! So here is a brief summary. Embarkation was fine , 3pm.Then had to wait until 8.45pm for our luggage.I fetched it myself after the cabin stewards politely refused as they were "busy". Was told there was no need to book a table that evening only to have to que for one.Ended up with the staff clearing up and moving tables around us for the next morning.They just wanted us out of the way. The next morning 9 am , we left our room armed with life jackets for the drill , only to be met by our "cabin steward" who then told us it was at the 3pm without an apology.So our morning trip to Venice was off.The drill was actually 2.30pm.
We had evenings at Sabatinis and the Crown Grill , but got the same lines of insincere conversations from the staff as we did at the other restaurants. Be careful, as a table for two might mean 2 inches away from the next table for two.The food throughout the ship was fine , but not outstanding. Mykanos , Rhodes , and Santorini are beautiful , but not with 3500 plus cruise passengers swarming around them .Mykanos was a farce. We were expecting " West End style productions " ....there were none ! I love football , but not in Sky Walkers night club when people can view the game on a superb screen as big as your house on deck. I have no issue with the items on my account , but we were promised the summary on our doorstep on or prior to the morning of debarkation.It did not arrive , so they blamed children for "swapping the accounts about in the corridors ".Believe me this was not the case at all .Any children on the ship were very well behaved.The "discetionary" 264 dollar tip had been automatically applied to our account.I promptly removed this as we had tipped staff individually and paid the automatic gratuity applied to every bar bill.Believe me , we spent a fair amount. The entertainment was drab at best throughout the cruise , apart from the pre arranged deck party towards the end of the trip which was an uplifting experience and should have been repeated.Passengers were crying out for more of this atmosphere. We visited Crooners bar where the " Internationally acclaimed " pianist was repeatedly asking for requests.To assist , I asked for Sinatra's' , The Tender Trap.His blunt reply , "never heard of it !" Now this guy was about 60 , and we are talking Sinatra.He was more intent on publicly announcing he couldnt wait to leave the ship , in not so many words , and counted down the days each time I heard him. On our sea day they decided to try and liven things up......with a " gents sexy legs competition " ...it was cancelled due to lack of interest.Was this Butlins ? The bars and theatre were physically outstanding but with little or no atmosphere .People , including us , often walked in and straight out again.
On the plus side , the ship itself was outstanding , with wonderful facilities and first rate comfort and decor.But what is the point of having all this with empty bars and no atmosphere.Our stateroom with balcony was faultless , and the cleanliness of the entire ship was 5 star . The ships excurtions were very good , coupled with informative and entertaining guides. The on deck bar staff were a delight , but the majority of staff gave the distinct impression of not wanting to be there.
Believe me , we are open minded people with a broad taste in entertainment and interests , but when I pay good money I expect a good return , and was disappointed .
In summary ....A 5 Star Ship with a 2 Star atmosphere .