Not having been on a cruise before we were a bit sceptical and as the people in our party did not want to fly anywhere this was the ideal solution .A cruise for 15 nights to Morocco and the Canary Islands places we had never been before .We booked this only three weeks before we went and for a bargain price of £669 per person for an ocean view cabin .Leaving from Tilbury gave us an hour's run to the port which was great.
We found that we could not fault either the embarkation or the ship itself, being that it was built in the 1960's it was most comfortable and we never felt any rough movement even going through the Bay Of Biscay where it can sometimes get rough, it was kept very clean and we had to use hand gel on entry in to any of the eating places which was a good idea since the ship was full to capacity. Just over 800 people which by today's standards is small.
The Dining room and service was five star and as for the waiters nothing was too much trouble .The food was excellent and presented in a way Master Chef would be proud of and never repeated during the 15 day cruise .I liked the fact that we sat with new people during breakfast and lunch and we got to meet some very nice people .Some of the seasoned cruisers said that this was not as good as they had experienced in the past but I always say speak as you find
I thought that the drinks on board were just around normal London pub prices I personally don't think that £3.10 for a pint is excessive nor £4.75 for a large glass of red wine which was around a third of a bottle .we did have to pay for water in the cabin and one could say this was a bit pricey but having thought of the logistics getting this on board perhaps not .It was open to all to pre buy a drinks package in advance which gave us wine and water and saved us a few pounds I also think that the gratuity charged of £150 per cabin was justified and saved us having to tip in person, the onboard staff earned every penny.
The entertainment was first class and the dance troupe worked very hard having to put on two shows a night both for the early diners and the later sitting .the costumes and performances were comparable to a west end show There was always something going on with a quiz or space lecture which was awe inspiring .
The on-shore excursions were very good and we really did enjoy the Souk and Fantasia in Morocco and the Fire Mountains in Lanzarote but they only lasted half a day could have been longer .we did have one of our guides that found it a bit hard to explain herself in English and we had to concentrate to hear correctly .There were certain things that we weren't interested in like a trip to an embroidery factory but then again you can't please everybody .I think that if we go that route again we would get a taxi and do our own thing.
Now for the downside. We were very surprised that smoking on board was allowed especially in one of the main bars the Captain's Cabin .This was most unpleasant and should be banned instantly . As this bar was the main route through to the Marco Polo lounge it was like walking though a fog of smoke and then smelling of cigarette smoke while we were enjoying the entertainment was just horrible .The swimming pool was just too small and never had water in it most of the time and there was a great lack of chairs on the sun decks .People were taking chairs out on deck from the bistro which left diners with nowhere to sit. The crew should have stopped the practice of sun bed reservation as well. All in all a great holiday and would go again without hesitation especially getting a good price by booking at the last minute.