There was so much wrong about this cruise, it was overcrowded coupled to the number of wheelchairs meant that one had to queue for everything, even the formal nights one had to stand in a long queue waiting for the doors to be opened not a minute before 1830, why not open them at 1800 so that we could be seated , chatting and have time to scrutinize the menu. There was no room between the tables, the meal had to be rushed as the second sitting had to be catered for and most upsetting was the poor standard of the food. If you were not on your way to the wonderful theatre the Palladium by 20.00hrs, negotiating the wheelchairs, it was unlikely a good seat could be found for the excellent show which started at 20,45 hrs. We had only 3 good meals in the Meridian, and 3 paying extra in the Orchid and the Rhodes. We had a lot of meals in the Buffet restaurant but it always entailed once again queuing and then trying to find somewhere to sit, on the last breakfast there were no mugs ! Italian night was a big disappointment, a bit of pasta and other bits, the cheese was Cheddar, and there was no Italian ice cream, fortunately the catering officer was passing and had to send down for some Italian cheese just for me. My wife confirmed that our sheets or pillow case were definitely NOT changed in the 17 days on board, evident by a black mark on a sheet, we brought this up with our room girl who stated she had a routine to stick to which she did. I sent one pair of trousers to be cleaned and pressed, upon their return i found that they had been pressed down the SIDES not the front!!
A 30 seater cinema on a ship with 2000 passengers is not practical!
Now for some good things!! The crew ware fantastic, well trained and extremely helpful, efficient and courteous. The Crows Nest was breathtaking, the ship itself was just amazing with reasonable shop and drink prices. I know it must be difficult to amuse 2000 people day after day but we are not into line dancing, quizzes, bingo and doing crosswords and as the weather was not good we could not use our balcony or the swimming pools. The excursions were good as it was good to get off the ship though we felt they were expensive for what they were, and it was the same with all, the guide spoke far too much with facts and figures that could not be of interest or remembered (i am an experienced Zoo guide so am perhaps more observant of these things) more free time would have been appreciated. We met a passenger who after about 14 days actually found a large suitcase not belonging to him under his bed, what does this say about cabin cleaning, or perhaps more importantly security? imagine a bomb the size of a large suitcase going off!!
A number of unforeseen things happened like having to turnaround to search for a missing crew member for hours, trouble leaving Venice, and racing through the Bay of Biscay trying to avoid a storm, all of which the Captain handled really well and kept us all up to date with progress. We now know that this cruise was below par having discussed it with people who have done over 20, and we have been put off spending all that money on any more.
Zakinthos the second port (not listed)
A good tour with entertainment and a bite to eat, with not too much chatter and info to try to listen to.
Last port of call unscheduled.
Trip to Honfleur was lovely, beautiful countryside, and plenty of time to spend in town.