We booked via the Louis brochure: noting the modest prices we decided to spoil ourselves with the "Deluxe Outside Stateroom" at nearly double the basic price.
WHAT A SUCK-IN! It was TINY compared to the photo -- -we discovered that of the 16 at this grade only TWO were "landscape format" (showing more space asin the brochure) and the other 14 were "portrait format" and NO WAY were they capable of being "3-4 berth". The furnishings were adequate but NOT "deluxe".
The WORST thing about the cabin was the NOISE (creaks and groans from inside the walls (Bulkheads?) --- so loud at times that we were unable to sleep. Others on the same deck also complained about this. NOISE? I forgot about the 0615 dawn chorus of the crew putting out the sunbeds on the Sun Deck above our heads!!!
Still on the topic of NOISE, obviously on a small ship it is hard to get away from the engine noise but do they HAVE to have "Muzak" EVERYWHERE? And, on a cruise where the majority of the passengers were "mature" --- surely the type of music was inappropriate -- by about 40 years!
Other problems? The penny-pinching where we were expected to shell out all of the time --- I KNOW that the costs were significantly below many ships but we would have preferred to pay more. The excursions were VERY costly. One had to opt OUT of the prescribed "Tip" system -- -and THEN (unlike other cruises where there is an envelope system for a personal donation) to have our account charged with what we were prepared to give... ... we actually also ensured that our cabin steward actually got something.
The decor was generally "faded" and the interiors seemed gloomy. There WAS a "library" of second-hand books, available occasionally. We were not inspired to join the daytime activities --- nor were many others (it's hard to learn Salsa when you are being guided in the wrong language!) but they did -- for some -- fill the loooooooooong periods of sailing between the FAR too short periods ashore.
Good things? YES --- the cabin, restaurant and bar staff were very attentive: the food was good -- but limited in quantity and imagination. The Cruise Director worked his socks off in 5 languages -- a double-edged sword as every announcement became interminable (in future we will try to avoid multi-ethnic ships). The on-board musicians (a trio and a duo) were very competent and the nightly entertainment by the young people was good (considering the size of the ship).
Would we cruise again? YES --- but in our experience River Cruising suits us more.
With Louis Cruises? NO --- we made a bad mistake in selecting a lower end line and going for the "upper end" berths. It would have been FAR better to have spent the same money on a lower cabin in another ship --- probably getting a cabin of the same size and facilities as the one we paid for -- our non-existent "Deluxe Outside Stateroom".