Myself & my husband arrived back yesterday 7th December from what should have been 2 days in Hamburg and 1 in Amsterdam looking at the Christmas markets. We were informed the day before that the itinerary was going to be changed due to the bad weather conditions in Germany. The itinerary was then 1 day in Amsterdam, 1 day in Brugge and 1 in Antwerp. I am all for health and safety! and this also meant 3 ports of call instead of 1.
The first night sailing to Amsterdam was extremely choppy and we managed about 4 hours sleep. We knew that Brugge was only about 80 odd miles away so we assumed that night we would have a quick journey, be docked and have a good nights sleep. WRONG! we could not dock until 6am the next morning we were just bobbing around in the sea for hours, being right above the props and the water crashing against our port holes. We seemed to fair better than others who on the higher decks had their drawers opening, things falling over and one poor woman had a narrow escape when the tv fell over and landed on the bed beside her! Neither of us slept again at all, when the boat finally docked we thought lets go to bed now and get a couple of hours, WRONG, we were so low on the ship that the rubber buffers were right outside our window and the noise of them scraping against the side made it impossible. It was horrendous to say the least.
The Captain - was noticeable by his absents, except when spotted with a young blonde in an office smoking! different policies for different people I suppose.
The Food - Only 1 night spent in the Restaurant (nothing special) and the help yourself Bistro - food warm at best repetitive and run to a strict regime, if it was 8.30 and people still in there all the food is cleared away regardless.
Entertainment - Now this is the only good bit, all the staff were really nice and put on a good show every night.
We had a trickle of water coming out of our tap, we tried to call reception to ask if this could be remedied but the phone didn't work. We went to reception she said she would get it sorted and that she realised our phone was not working. On our arrival back there was still no water, we complained again. At last someone came. It worked for 1 morning! It was quite amusing that the last night we go two letters, one saying we hoped the water problem had been resolved and another that said, sorry it couldn't be fixed because they couldn't get in touch with us by phone!! It was broken der!!
Our friends had a nice surprise too, they were asleep in their cabin and at 1.50am they were woken by someone walking in! He said sorry and left, they called reception immediately but they were not really interested, after a second complaint in person in the morning they were told it would be looked into. Apparently they said, the week before the staff had been given these cabins and the intruder was staff who didn't know that these same cabins had been given to the general public! Bad case of communication to say the least.
As for the Christmas markets, in Brugge there were half a dozen open, selling items you could buy here for a third of the cost. In Antwerp there were none open at all, as the people who had booked a trip on board at a very high price found out. The few that were open sold either hot food or you could have a drink. Where were the stalls for the Xmas presents that people wanted to buy?
To be honest if it hadn't been for the people whom we met on the ship it would have been the worst nightmare ever. If you don't mind repetitive lukewarm food, reception staff that cant be bothered, a captain you never see or hear and enjoy a ship that does not appear to be stabilised at all, then go for it! I myself wont be going on it again, myself and my husband are still suffering extremely bad "sea legs".