We were met at the World Trade Centre Cruise Terminal, Barcelona just after 16:00hrs to be taken on board. However due to the lack of available staff we had to wait with another couple. The elderly gentlemen in that party was left to struggle up the gang plank steps on his own with a rather heavy piece of hand luggage. After checking in at the King Olav lounge we were offered ½ glass of champagne and taken to our cabin where a full bottle awaited us. I asked about a cup of tea and was advised to use room service. There was no mention of afternoon tea being available in the Observation lounge.
The cabin doorbell chimes are similar to the pre PA announcement so be prepared for someone to just walk in if you miss it. Cabin cleaning standards appeared good however a check of the wash basin plug revealed past passenger body hair. One of the pre ordered cabin spirit drinks were not there and took over 24hrs to be delivered. Soft mixer drink replenishment was a bit hap hazard and I never did get any more soda water. A request for extra male coat hangers (those without crocodile clips) were promptly delivered. Cabin repairs were prompt although the fault with the mirrored bathroom cabinet door and faulty reading light should have been identified and rectified before we were taken to the cabin.
On the first morning we tried the Veranda café for breakfast. There’s a wide selection of hot and cold items although we found ordered items took a while to arrive and not always together. The result being the fried egg for my cooked breakfast arrived last and was over cooked despite numerous requests for it to be runny and sunny side up. We never ate breakfast there again, service in the main restaurant was much more civilised and we got what was ordered. Special orders were also taken. During the first week about 6 ate breakfast here and in the second week numbers increased to about 12.
The tender service at anchor ports was on the whole good. There were occasions where we encountered unnecessary waits and then had to depart to allow the other tender to dock.
Lunch at the Veranda café offered a wide selection of self-service items with a daily specials board with items cooked to order. It could get busy particularly outside in good weather or inside in poor weather. There is insufficient seating here for everyone on board.
Swimming at the Marina is a bit disappointing as it’s like being in a large fish fryer and only about 5 ft. deep, so no diving. There was never a queue for the other marina activities. Weather permitting this only occurs once a week.
The Computer Centre although never busy is obviously well used. The chairs in here are well worn and must be due for replacement. Internet packages need to be purchased before you can log into any www site other than Seabourn.
Preparations for the on deck BBQ evening resulted in deck chair clearance from about 15:30hrs and the setting up and testing of sound systems. For those of us who sat it out until about 17:00hrs we were devoid of any bar service, no doubt a subtle attempt to get us to move. Those who attended this event were treated to white plastic chairs at long tables.
The caviar event is a bit of a bun fight in that all the canapés are made on deck and not nearly quickly enough to meet demand. Chilled vodka was available but the iced glasses arrived 20 minutes before the event started so were nicely warmed by the late afternoon sun before being used.
The tasting menus served in 2, the renamed veranda café for evening meals, are excellent. Giving a good combination of flavours over 11 courses which are thankfully small. Service here is also excellent with time available to talk through the individual items with the wait staff and chef. There’s usually two a week and pre booking is required as numbers are limited.
An on deck pre booking Surf ‘n Turf event was cancelled due to poor weather and we were advised the menu would be available in the main dining room. Sadly it wasn’t and the wait staff were unaware of what had occurred.
The main dining room occasionally has a wait list due to the low number of tables for 2 available but this is dependent upon many things. Dining times of the nationalities aboard, evening events and menu offered. As we tended to eat late, 20:30, this wasn’t a problem and the bar staff would call the restaurant to check availability thus avoiding having to return. The restaurant would then call when a table became available. The food here is good and would be cooked to your personal preference. We only had issue with the consommé one evening and the head chef came from the kitchen and took our comments. Later in the cruise when we again tried the same consommé the flavour had improved.
Unfortunately 2 passengers had to leave the ship mid cruise due to a medical emergency. I thought it a very caring concern the Captain showed in contacting the hospital over the following days and keeping us informed of their wellbeing.
Overall value for money on an all inclusive cruise but attention to detail must remain a top priority as this is what lets them down. From this experience we're not likely to try their new larger 'yachts.'