My husband and I chose this cruise to celebrate our anniversary and to reconnect with some CC friends. We arrived a day early and stayed at Heathrow Skyline Sheraton. Left our luggage in a friends' room and off to see London for a few hours. We took tube into town and jumped aboard the Original Tour bus. This is the only way to see the city quickly. The guides on board were very knowledgeable and we were able to see most of the major sites.
Early the next morning we were picked up at hotel by Adelphia transport. There was barely room for the six of us and our luggage. We would have 8 and 3 more suitcases for return trip. We told driver and he said it wouldn't be a problem. Arrived at Harwich around 11. It was only about a 15 min wait until boarding was allowed. We were actually the first to board the ship. Processing took only about 10 min. Our first question was about the virus. Staff told us on last voyage there were only 60 ill. Most of us came prepared with bleach based cleaning supplies and viral sanitizer. None of our M&M group became ill with virus.
Ship: Beautiful ship. The dEcor was probably the best I've seen. No outlandish color schemes and for the most part beautiful artwork. The Solarum is always full. Finding a seat is next to impossible. Around 5 you may find a space. On the deck there is ample room, but very windy. The outdoor pool rarely had swimmers due to cool water. Took a lot of encouragement for ship staff to get volunteers for belly flop contest. Limited space for just hanging out inside the ship. On sea days it took us awhile to find a quiet place to read. Ended up going back to our room. Rooms: We had aft balcony 8168. Lots of room and beautiful view, expecially sailing under brige and leaving Stockholm. Only complaint was LONG walk to get to the room. There are no nearby stairs. Our room attendant did a fabulous job. Two days we awoke to mosquito infestation of our balcony. The staff was quick to take care of the issue. Dinning - We ate in Windjammer and Tides for both breakfast and lunch. There were times in Windjammer when it was crowded, but we always found a seat. The choices for both meals were varied and quality good. Tides had better desserts for lunch then Windjammer. Sea View Cafe also has great food and most passengers forget it is even there. We had MTD, but ended up at same table , same time every night. Our group made reservations before arriving for cruise. I have a dietary problem and once I told the waiter he made sure of the food contents. I might not have been able to eat what was being offered, but he found something that was just as good. We did eat at Chops on our anniversary. We were not pleased with the quality of the food or the service. We had our dessert 20min before our coffee arrived. It seems they have to go down 2 floors to get the coffee and waiter can only carry 2 at a time . the steak was just a steak.
Entertainment: Only attended 3 of the evening shows. We thought they were better than other cruise ships. They were the Motown, Tango, and Beatles shows. I would rate them as good. Most evenings we went to either the Centrum or the Vortex to listen and dance. The Schooner had an awful group playing. We called them the "Dead men" . Sounded like bad Karaoke. During lunch there was an excellent violin/piano duet in Centrum.
Ports were what this trip was all about. I will post those reviews on ports of call. Only disappointment was Gothenburg. We were there on a Sunday and everything is closed until noon. We had booked Walking Tour with RCCL and saw only closed buildings. Not worth the money.
Disembark was probably the easiest we ever had. Our group was off the ship at the assigned time and luggage was easy to find. Our driver arrived with the same van. This was a big problem. There were now 8 of us with extra cases. It did not fit. We had cases and a ladder on back seat along with 2 smashed together people. Second seat had 4 of us sitting on seat belt clips and a ladder on your neck The front seat had 2 men shoulder to shoulder and driver. All of us were holding our carry on stuff in our lap or under our feet. I would not recommend this service. It was indeed a long uncomfortable ride back to Heathrow.