ask yourself three questions before you book this cruise. 1. am i posh? 2. do i like to pretend to be posh? 3. do i want this to be the holiday of a lifetime? if you answer yes to any of the above then dig a bit deeper into your pocket and book yourself another cruise.
we booked this just 10 days beforehand and got what we think was a good deal. we did not book any of the extras ie outside cabin, upgrade etc as we did not feel we would be in the cabin much anyway. really and truly who comes on a cruise to sit in their cabin?? we had never cruised before, although we have travelled extensively and really only booked it because of the price.we were not expecting a high standard as we knew that this was not the QE2 and boarded with an open mind. first impressions it was obvious that the cabins were a bit shabby, however everything was spotlessly clean and cabin was adequate, good enough size,plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, good shower etc. housekeeping staff were excellent tidying and cleaning 2-3 times daily.
food - there are 3 restaurants - 1 has 24 hour dining, yes it has plastic plates, cups etc but quality of food was very good and there was a good variety and different themes every night. we ate 1 night in the oasis restaurant which is a la carte and you pay a surcharge for this. we paid 35 pounds for a wine and dine package which included a bottle of wine. food was excellent.
all the staff on board are brilliant and seem genuinely happy which creates a great atmosphere. entertainment on board was a good quality with some excellent shows and wonderful musicians and singers.
shore excursions - being keen cyclists we booked 2 of the cycle trips. the one through Rome was great fun, if a little scary at first but as part of a group of 13 we felt invincible. we covered 14 miles which took in all the main items of interest. we did not have time to enter any of the sites but as we had been to rome before it was fine. we also travelled to florence by train independantly but as the journey took 1 hour 20 mins, it did not leave a lot of time to see florence. in cannes and menorca we hired our own bikes onshore and this worked out very well. it was a great way to see a little bit more and to go off the beaten track.
all in all we had a great week, wonderful weather and good fun. the average age on the cruise was about 60.maybe we were lucky in that we had no hitches at all and i suppose having never experienced a posh cruise we had no expectations. i thought it was a very good value cruise and you would be hard pressed to find an all inclusive resort holiday for the same price. we thought it was a very efficient and well run ship. so if you are easygoing and looking an informal casual cruise and for a bit of crack while still seeing all these great places and not breaking the bank then this is the cruise for you. it does exactly what it says on the tin.