We booked this cruise to enjoy some decent weather, for most of the cruise, as we had awful weather at home. Unfortunately we didn't realise that schools in some parts of the country, were on holiday....bad idea when sailing from ... Read More
We booked this cruise to enjoy some decent weather, for most of the cruise, as we had awful weather at home. Unfortunately we didn't realise that schools in some parts of the country, were on holiday....bad idea when sailing from Southampton !
Our Junior suite was very comfortable, plenty of storage space in the walk in wardrobe, & the shower, over the bath, was powerful & hot. Valerio, our stateroom attendant was attentive, & cleaned our room early, as he knew we were early risers.
Jacki, Ralph & Antonio in the Concierge lounge, were delightful people, helpful, efficient & engaging. This lounge was a haven to which we could retreat from the masses, in the late afternoon & early evening. We met some lovely people here & enjoyed their company in the evening.
We did not attend many events, although enjoyed the Bohemians, as did all the audience. The two ice shows were spectacular, especially Freeze Frame. We have seen both shows before, but thought that FF was the best ever, with experienced, energetic performers. The violinist in Strings, was, as usual, very good, & it was a joy to listen to some classical music, instead of a modern, loud cacophony of noise !
Captain Ted McCourt, enrichment lecturer on aviation, was outstanding. We have heard him on a previous cruise, when he gave many lectures, but on this cruise, he was limited to only four. His knowledge & delivery was superb, and we could have listened to him for much longer than the allocated hour. The only criticism,which had nothing to do with him, was the venue. Goodness knows why he was allocated the Conference Room, a small, hot, airless place, but maybe RCCL thought the majority of the cruisers would not be interested in attending a lecture.....by the last day, we were in the theatre. The last time we heard him, we were moved to the theatre after a couple of lectures, as the numbers wishing to listen to him grew rapidly. I hasten to add, on that cruise, we did not sail from Southampton.
The best news we heard was that smoking, at long last, has been banned from the casino. We have been complaining, as have others, for many years, about the smoke in that venue, which permeates through to other areas. Alas, some people smoked on their balcony, but even that ceased after a few days, so maybe their anti smoking policy is working. We suspect that the people concerned were advised about going against the rules, or at least we hope so !
We ate our breakfast in the Diamond Lounge, as it was very civilised to have a plate of fruit, followed by coffee, looking out over the sea, in quiet surroundings. Normally, we were the only ones in the lounge,apart from Laura, Diamond Concierge & John, Giovanni's waiter, who looked after the food & coffee machine, as we stated, we are early risers. Both these people were again, friendly & helpful.
Lunch, if taken, was a light snack in the Windjammer, which was adequate, or a slice of pizza on the Promenade. Dinner was either in the MDR on deck 5, or again in the Windjammer. We have sailed quite a few times, so know the restaurant menu intimately, thus our choice of alternating venues. Dining in the speciality restaurants was not worthwhile, as we are not big eaters, preferring to have one course of various items. In the MDR, we had a light starter & only a main course, forgoing anything else. Normally we have never found fault with the food, but this time, oh dear, we had a couple of culinary disasters, most notably, the Duck leg confit. This dish was disgusting....dripping in fat, tasteless, totally unhealthy and in fact, inedible. The other dish, which my husband chose, on a different night, was mince & onion...far too salty, and again not appealing. The aged Manhattan steak, which is normally a good standby, was not very good and again I was unable to finish it. I hope that the company is not trying to cut cost by purchasing inferior quality food, as that would be false economy,causing much waste.
We enjoyed the ship, but we will never again sail from Southampton during the summer months, as the standard of clientele was much lower than we have ever experienced during our years of cruising. Many people were obviously on the drinks package, either purchased, or included in their fare, and were determined to make full use, & more of it. Regardless of what time we walked along the Promenade, the seats were full of people drinking alcohol, talking loudly & not caring about fellow cruisers. Unfortunately, the majority appeared to be unaware of others, as their behaviour & language was most unacceptable. On port days, sun loungers were occupied by people not interested in experiencing new places & cultures. The reason for many to be on board appeared to be able to go home sunburned,looking like a cooked lobster. Many of the older children became feral by the end of the cruise, going around in packs, being rude, and trying to outdo each other in being offensive to others. One night in the Concierge lounge, three boys stood in the doorway of the lounge when the door opened, making remarks & eventually swearing, before running away....totally uncalled for.
We are going on this ship again, when she makes her return transatlantic crossing in April, so we hope we shall have a better experience than this cruise !
Finally, we must congratulate the crew for being so upbeat & friendly, in circumstances which must have been very trying for them. I certainly would not like to whistled to, or having to respond to finger snapping, in order to serve them. Read Less