Just arrived back from a 12 night Iberian cruise aboard Cruise & Maritime Ocean Countess which went from the port of Liverpool. I will come back to the port later in my review. What a disappointment from the moment we boarded this vessel. There was a stale pungent smell all over the ship. After checking in we were given keys to our cabin, an upgrade on our original booking. The cabin was well appointed with 2 large windows, plenty of drawer & wardrobe space, the dcor, curtains & bed coverings were drab & colourless. The constant noise from the ships engines in the cabin caused all sorts of creaks & groans and as we were under the cutlery station in the restaurant above there was noise of cutlery being constantly dropped and steel drawers opening & closing even into the early hours of the morning, this prevented us getting a decent nights sleep for the whole 12 nights.
As we wandered around the ship we saw areas of neglect, maintenance being done and the same drab furnishings, fittings & lighting. The Boat House, which is used for self-service is a free for all with very little room to accommodate even half the 800 passengers on board, you found yourself wandering around with a tray full of hot food trying to find a table, not very satisfactory & it didnt matter what time you went in, it was always the same. The Kensington restaurant was well appointed and the best room on the ship. The food was of a good standard with a reasonable menu. The staff were always helpful and cheerful.
The Piano bar at the top of the ship was also used as the library and games room but was also quite drab and the upholstery on most of the chairs was split & dirty. The whole room had no atmosphere at all. The cinema was a joke as was the casino, which was placed in a corridor, & consisted of 2 gaming tables, which everybody walked passed
The Hollyrood show lounge is all on one level with the stage coming out onto the dance floor which wasnt very good as your view was obstructed by columns, that is if you could get a decent seat because of the mad rush. Once again the seating was very drab and dirty with springs coming through most of the perimeter seating.
Hamptons bar at the rear of the ship was always crowded and extra basket seating had to be brought in from the deck area causing overcrowding, we often had to leave because there was not enough seating to go around.
The entertainment staff did their best in very difficult circumstances but what can you do on a vessel that is 36 years old and past its sell by date. The ship is supposedly to have had a 3 million pound refit but you could honestly not see where the money had been spent.
The ship is far to old for modern day cruising, and although I am a pensioner myself the onboard entertainment other than the shows was not to our taste at all as it was aimed at a particular audience i.e. ballroom dancing, bingo, game shows etc.
The Langton dock at Liverpool is a disgrace for embarkation & disembarkation as it is in the middle of a scrap metal yard. Docking & disembarkation on our return took approximately 3.5 hours, as the captain didnt seem to know what he was doing.
We would certainly not be going with this company again or recommend them to any of our friends mainly because of the cost, size and quality of the ship. You can get much better quality at a lower cost from many other cruise lines.