So lets discuss the things that you are really interested in?
As you would expect the basis in which you live is no different to that in any hotel the more you pay the better room you live in, now this is not to say that there is no ... Read More
So lets discuss the things that you are really interested in?
As you would expect the basis in which you live is no different to that in any hotel the more you pay the better room you live in, now this is not to say that there is no different from a hotel as of course there is, The real estate if I can call it that is different, so what do you get? Well I think firstly I have to point out that it is luxury-catered holidays so don’t expect to have different degrees of service. Each individual is treated the same regardless of stature, now from a professional point of view what this means is the little things, the attention to detail is everything with very little is left to chance. This can be witnessed from the expectation management of the team, from the boarding process right down to the service of dinner.
Now I think it is important to say at this point if you want to be a little self sufficient that is possible with the ability to go to the bar rather then waiter service, or eat in a buffet style dinner where you sit down and approach the servery, helping yourself to a wide range of different choices each day.
Accommodation: well the best description I can give you is a five star holiday with three star accommodations, practical but lacking in the luxury of the rest of the ship. So as I mentioned accommodation is based primarily on how much you are willing to spend, for our first cruise we elected for a outside plus cabin this meant that it is slightly bigger then the basic room and more importantly it comes with an widow to the outside. For all of you that picture a porthole in the wall this is not true. It is a large window about 1m in length and 0.5m in height giving you a good view of the sea, or of the port you are docked in; however I must point out sometimes this can be a concrete dock wall, or a building site. The overall cleanliness of the room was very good it was clear to see that the maids took pride in their work and cleaned daily.
Facilities: in the room you do get a TV with small selection of channels, news, 2 film channels and 2 entertainment channels. There is a hairdryer in the draw and although not the best, my wife informs me that it does the job. There is a small kettle a few cups and twice daily refills of tea and coffee. The bedding was fresh and every 3 days was replaced. So let me move on to a few of the more negatives for a moment, but please let me express this is only from our experience, this is not to say everyone was in the same situation, for a moment there are two single beds pushed together within the cabin situated in the middle of the room, unfortunately in the cabin we are situated in this meant with the other furnishings within the room, the gap to get to one side of the bed required me to step over the bottom corner of the bed, a little irritating but nothing to get excited about. Ok so you may have noticed I have not commented on the bathroom yet, now although everything in the bathroom is reasonable well situated and meets all basic requirements the biggest thing is there is a reasonably high step to get in to the bathroom and once in don’t expect to be swinging any cats, something after enjoying yourself of an evening, or after waking up first thing in the morning you can quite easily trip over. Words of advice, due to the limited plug sockets in you room bring a adapter and a extension block.
Dinning: Where to start! The truth is the food has been really good; there are 5 restaurants on the majesty 2 buffet style restaurants, 2 waiter service restaurants serving 4 course menus each evening, and a fine dining restaurant with a 6-course menu (at an extra cost of £20per head). In all of the restaurants there have been at least 4 main choices to choose from on the menu with the addition of 5 enhanced options (varying types of steaks, lobster etc.) the service is in no means slow in any of the facilities with you plates taken almost as you finish the last mouthful of food. The presentation of food was exceptional and was not lacking in taste. Now I should at this point mention the difference between going to a restaurant and eating on a cruise ship. As you enter the dining room you are greeted by a matra dee, where you are escorted to a table with other diners sitting in down on average as two or three couples/ families where you can engage in conversation with strangers over your meal, not an unpleasant situation but please be aware if you want something a little more intimate you must request a table with the right amount of place setting to meet your needs. From our personal experience we have engaged in some scintillating conversations with people from all walks of life. Each meal is an occasion on the ship, what I mean by this is if you want a quick meal go to the buffet, other wise expect at least a hour over a meal in any of the restaurants.
Entertainment: So if your anything like me you are sceptical about all entertainment on holidays, let me put your mind at rest. The entertainment team are utter professionals and I did not feel like I was in anyway part of a kids clubs. Thompson does not employ them themselves but from an outside agency that auditions for every role within the team. From a personal perspective we met the most genuine of host in a entertainment rep by the name of Jack Townsend, although only 25 he had a maturity that spoke volumes and would go out of his way to spend not only his employed time but his own time in conversation with us, only adding to the enjoyment of our holiday. There has been a wide array of different types of entertainment from well-planned quizzes to what I can only describe as cabaret and shows that you would expect in your local theatre. Comedy acts that had the crowd crying over the course of a few hours, and these are topped off with some very talented singers. If you not the type to sit and watch any of the above there is a lounge with a piano and vocalist playing as you sip a cocktail or after dinner coffee.
Shopping: there is a small promenade of shops on the ships, they sell a verity of items but the bulk being fragrances for him and her, watches, jewellery and duty free items, I should point out there is a small selection of items you may have forgotten before you left home. Please bear in mind these items are all expensive branded items, which come at a high price.
Staff: Every member of staff that we have met have been friendly and engaging always willing to help in anyway they can, although trying to get them to not call you sir is hard work.
Ship Facilities: Getting about there is 3 banks of lifts and stairs located Port (front of the shift) Aft (rear of the ship) and in the middle. The lifts can accommodated 6- 8 people comfortable. There is a lot a facility on the ship and I am not going to go in to too much detail, as you will see these advertised in the brochure before you book you cruise. But I will say there is plenty of seating area (not all outside) where you can enjoy relaxing, a games room, casino and numerous bars/ cafés to relax in. there is also a spa that does haircutting and styling, massage and other more exotic treatments.
Wifi: Ok I know this is a big question for some of you, so let me lay it down honestly for you, its slow expensive and only works in limited areas of the ship. Breakdowns of cost are:
1 week is £49 with 1000mb of data; if you go over this you will pay more.
3 days for £25
1 hour for £8
If you work on this as a break from you phone then you wont go far wrong. You can as you travel from location to location picking up mobile signal and using your phones data plans should you require, although this is expensive. When departing the ship at various destinations most cafes and bars do provide free wifi.
Information services: There is a bank of receptions mid ship where you can get any information and book any executions you should wish to participate in. along with special request on the ship.
Age: Ok so as a couple in the mid to late thirties, we were hoping to see some like minded couples are own age, the truth is they are few and far between maybe one couple in every 30 couples are under the age of 50, now please don’t get me wrong everyone we have met are pleasant and friendly, but the cruise is geared towards the slightly more mature among us. Don’t let this put you off cruising, as the whole experience has been very good, I just want to give you the realism of the situation. We have see a few families of mixed age groups who seem to take this as opportunity spend time together where no one person has to do any work, and at the same time do different things during the day and meet up in the evening for dinner and drinks.
Price: The cost of cruising was not excessive when you compare it to a holiday in the same area of the world. And when you factor in all the entertainment that is provided, along with the fact you don’t have to pack your suitcase each time you move to different location it defiantly has its appeals. Its not the cheapest holiday you will find but you wont find a 5 star hotel in that many different ports that will come close to the priced including transfers.
Dress code: So smart casual is the way to look at this, gents make sure you pack a tie for the formal night as people do come prepared for this with tuxedos and bowties, during the rest of the evening trousers for the dinning rooms or tailored shorts. If you prefer a more relaxed approach the buffet style restaurants are more than happy with jean and a smart t-shirt or polo shirt. For the entertainment in the evening as long as you are smart no one would bat an eyelid to a smart pair of jeans. Ladies elegant and casual is all I can suggest a dress or equivalent for the formal night and ensure you have something to cover your shoulders of an evening, as it can be quite cool as it gets later on.
All Inclusive (drinks package): I have left this subject till the end as it has been the one thing I was most disappointed with, as with any holiday all inclusive you will pay extra for some premium spirits and cocktails although Smirnoff and Gordon’s are included. One thing to remember is your drinks package does not start until 10am so if you want coffee in any of the bars or cafes you will have to pay extra (these are free from the restaurants still) In this instance there are quite a few things that are not included though, most cocktails all bar snacks, ice cream on deck (£1.50 a scoop) and bottled water (£1.90 for 1.5l) are just a few things you will pay extra for, room service you pay extra for although with other cruise liners this is not the case. House wine by the glass is included but nothing more. The one thing to take from this area is be prepared to pay for those creature comforts, and if you on a budget make sure you read the menu and receipts you receive so you know what you are spending.
Disabled access: if you do find yourself with any disabilities the ships crew and the layout of the ship does compensate for this, allowing access to all areas, with the minimal amount of disruption.
Destinations & Locations: Something to factor in when you cruising are defiantly where you going and what you will be doing whilst not on the boat. At all locations we docked at we have been able to get off and just walk around the port, please “bear” in mind some mooring locations require a bus to the local port/ town at approximately £5per person, And the mooring location can be quite a way from any where you want to be. We did book on to a submarine excursion but unfortunately it was cancelled, although disappointing the worst thing about this was we were only informed the night before so there were very little spaces on any other excursions to book on too.
Overall: has been a great holiday with very few niggles, everyone is friendly and we would recommend it to any one who want to relax with a bit of comfort, the movement of the ship is only noticeable if it is choppy, the lower down and the closer to the middle you are the less you notice it (bear this in mind when booking your cabin). The entertainment is very good and dinner is a real affair. So good luck to you all and hope you enjoy your first cruise, as we will defiantly be doing it again. Read Less