On arrival at Malaga, we were handed a typed piece of paper, which due to handling luggage and 2 children, didn't get to read properly until we were on the transfer bus........when too late, we found out that the ship was being "sanitised" due to an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting. This lead to an hour and a half transfer, "sightseeing" from a coach, instead of a 25 minute transfer. We appreciate this sometimes happens, but improved communication could have reduced the amount of stress. Had someone clearly told us there was problem, prior to getting on the coach, who knows whether or not we would have taken the option of re-arranging the cruise for a different time.
Then we stood outside in the rain at the port, literally with hundreds of other people. No one took charge, there were no clear instructions, and it took over an hour to embark.
The cabins were absolutely fine, and as expected. Clean, with a pleasant house keeper. The Windjammer was extremely crowded on the first day, but afterwards was very pleasant. Dining at 18.45 in the Strauss was OK, service was good, but only 3 courses (some other cruise companies offer up to 6 small courses). Despite the fact that we had pre-ordered the Platinum Wine Package, some of the bottles we had chosen were not available, due to it "being the end of the European season", and we accepted substitutes.
The Soda packages for the children were a really good deal, and the teenager club was popular.
However, repeatedly having to fill in disclaimer forms for the children's activities was time consuming and annoying. Perhaps this is something that could be improved upon, maybe, by an electronic disclaimer prior to sailing.
We experienced a little rough weather - but nothing like as bad as I have experienced previously on cruises; but unfortunately it was enough to close the outdoor in line skating track, the ice rink, and the swimming pools. That didn't leave an awful lot to do during the at sea days.
The theatre productions, were, on the whole excellent. We couldn't fault the local band - Take 4 - who were 4 brilliant guys who sang and played their hearts out, excellently, and could turn their hand to anything that was requested. The Adventure orchestra were superb as well - especially the drummer. The on board entertainment was faultless.
One final moan - was the gratuity reminders. I have always felt - that gratuities and tips should be paid at the discretion of the customer, for the amount felt to be appropriate, to reflect the service given. There is no doubt - that our 2 waiters we brilliant, as was the housekeeper - and we didn't begrudge them their tips at all. What spoilt the last couple of days for me, was being reminded not only about paying the gratuities, but being told how much to pay (that - and being charged $18 for 4 fresh orange juices taken at breakfast in the Strauss restaurant - beware!!). Breakfast in the Vivaldi buffet was extremely good.