This was a first time cruise for us. Travel to and from Palma, where we picked the ship up, was very good, as was the embarkation. We were happy to eat and go straight ashore so we went to the Andromeda Restaurant. This is where very poor school dinner type food, bland, unadventurous and, at times disgusting meals are collected from a buffet on plastic plates which saw their best days years ago. The glasses are chipped and scuffed and the place had the air of a run down holiday camp dinning hall.
In the evening we ate in the Orion Restaurant which was much better but still lacked a lot. The courses you ordered were placed in front of you imediately the course prior to it was finished. The place was busy and the queues got worse during the week so they processed you as quickly as possible. Sometimes you would be on the main course before you were able to order wine. Three times I had different consumme soups which were all very nice, which was unsurprising as they all tasted the same! I also had some sea bass which would have passed for sushi it was so under cooked.
We once ate in the Sirens Restaurant which cost an extra £40 for better food, but not £40 worth better. It would only rate as a very mediocre restaurant ashore.
The ship stank of sewage through out the voyage. On the first day our toilet wouldn't flush and an engineer was requested but never arrived. When I asked again they told me it was a problem in that part of the ship and was being addressed. It would have been nice to be told rather than wait for an engineer pointlessly. One night there was no water because of an ongoing problem and one day we couldn't shower or wash properly because the water in both the hot and cold taps was scalding. Also the air conditioning didn't work at all. The toilets in public areas were frequently not fixed to the deck. We also missed out on Tunisia because the port didn't have the facility to provide water and part of the ships water storage capability was not working.
The day at sea was a nightmare. Loud music so I put my i-pod on only for the music on deck to get even louder, napkin folding demonstrations, cocktail demonstrations where the 'juggling' cocktail makers dropped more bottles than they caught and the flambe demonstration that didn't flambe, all described in minute detail by inarticulate, loud and 'enthusiatic' entertainment staff. No where inside or out was there a place where the noise levels dropped to a peaceful level except the cabin. Just to top it off, when you did return from a shore visit there were rarely any places to sit or lay out in the sun.
One of my minibar sheets had been added to. I purchased a bottle of water marked the sheet and signed it to be collected by the steward. When it came to settle up a scotch, coke and Pringles had been added. This took two visits to customer services to sort out. I thought the first visit had done it and it was only because I checked the second, final bill properly I found the charge was still there.
Once the cruise arrived in Palma it was as if the passengers no longer existed. Baggage was taken the night before so you were left with night clothes and washing stuff to pack in the shoreside store in the morning. Cabin had to be vacated by 08:00 and many of the public area toilets became 'out of order'.
Five Star, three at very best. Best thing about the cruise - getting off, but even that wasn't very efficent as the ship was late into three ports and big queues built up to get off.
One very good thing on board was the theatre. Good professional shows.