Flew to Barcelona, Taxi driver noticed that it had been repainted. 14:30 embarkation was very smooth with small queues to nonexistent queues. When boarding ship hands sanitised, Staff dressed as elves and Christmasy feel.
Balcony cabin on deck 10 as expected and the toilet is as people have noted a little small and set at an angle so if your over 5'11" it will be cramped. In the cabin there was coffee filter machine, safe, stocked fridge, robes, hair dryer etc. Did not see our room steward only a note with two names on. On speaking to other people our turn down would appear to be hit and miss. As we only had one animal made, compared to others having it every night and even on Christmas having a sign saying Merry Christmas (no we did not cancel our service charge prior or at the end) this is just an observation.
We went to the Garden Cafe for our lunch due to embarkation it was a little bit chaotic and disorganised. The tables were very close to each other, that's if you could find one with spare seats. Food was of a cafeteria standard, I had roast beef, pots and veg and was fine, fruit was nice and fresh but the strange thing I found on a few occasions, was the plates were cold at the hot food station and hot at the cold.
Lunchtime the food was varied with roasts, meatball etc there was an Asian station with reasonable curries and stir fry. A pizza, burger and hotdog station I did not try these so cannot comment. Like anywhere you go around normal eating times, it is going to be very busy, but if you go a little earlier the tables are less chocker. Also found a station that did crepes and deli type sandwiches, and a couple of ice cream machines. I noticed quite a few people, they ranged from the elderly down to children using their hands to pick at the food instead of the tongs provided. Thankfully 'washey'washey ' hands before you enter the eatery.
We dined in the Aliza for most of our Evening meals. Service was fair to good, as for the food that was fair, and unfortunately there was one occasion when Lamb was on the menu, and it had no flavour even though it was pink in the middle. I was not the only one who thought so. This was exchanged for pork tenderloin which was OK. Also what made it worse the service took over 1 Â½ hours that sitting.
Speciality Restaurant Le Bistro four of us paid the cover charge of $20pp one night, I ordered escargot, my friend ordered duck salad. Well the escargot had been kept under the hot lamps so each came out as one glob and nothing to write home about, but the duck salad...... well this had lovely green salad leave but where was the duck, two and a half slivers like shaved carrot were found hiding and they did a good job at that. All round the meal was pretty poor. The maitre d' was notified and agreed there should have been more duck and would have a word with the chef. He asked if he could get us a drink, we said a spirit would be nice, to which he blanked us, in the mean time a waiter had taken our order for coffee, and he again asked if we would like a drink, once more we again said a brandy would be nice, he said he couldn't do that but we could have an espresso coffee, we declined his generous offer.
Drinks were on average $13.00 per couple. We used the Tankards beer and whiskey bar, Spinnaker bar, Jades Casino, Mixers Martin & cocktail bar and wine in the Aliza restaurant. Now there is downside they ran out of white zinfandel (Rose) wine after 3 days and did not replenish at any of the ports they stopped at. When asked why they had run out of Rose the stock answer was that at the start everyone drank it, so it ran out.
We went to the Stardust theatre and saw 4Ever (II Divo type) singers they were very good, they did another appearance later on in the cruise and were still very good. Now for the shows put on by I believe the Entertainment staff was a bit mishmash. One night a singing contest and the audience were the judges, not good left towards the end. Another night female staff doing a 60/70's pop thing relating to a magazine. Now I'm broad minded, but I found it strange they were highlighting drug taking and acting as 'stoned' in a couple of songs, people did start to leave as we did later. Now on Christmas night at the Stardust you thought they would have put on 4Everm but no they used the general staff from the kitchens, laundry, bars etc and unfortunately it was bit like karaoke, I must say they did try to entertain us though. Went to two show in the Spinnaker where there was a resident band, the first show was 50/50's music and the staff dressed up in clothes of that era and got people up dancing. On the second time we went they were doing Beatles songs and unfortunately they murdered them hardly any one was dancing so we left.
0500 docked in Barcelona did our own carry off with the cases no problems, taxi waiting and straight to the airport