Our first cruise of any type - ocean cruises have never appealed to me - but this trip ticked all the boxes for places I wanted to visit, with the added bonus of a private performance in Vienna by Strictly stars Anton Du Beke and Erin ... Read More
Our first cruise of any type - ocean cruises have never appealed to me - but this trip ticked all the boxes for places I wanted to visit, with the added bonus of a private performance in Vienna by Strictly stars Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, and a dance masterclass/Q&As on board with them the next day. Ship facilities top notch and staff/service an absolute joy. All thoroughly professional yet relaxed and friendly. We particularly loved the glass and mirrors decor which made the ship feel so light and airy.
An apparent improvement this year was the introduction of an events manager, so that aside from the two nights where excellent local musicians came aboard to perform, there was always some evening enterainment provided, such as "Battleships/scategories","Family Fortunes," 70s/80s disco night, etc. He also provided an excellent cabaret as a singer himself one night. There was the occasional film night and aquarobics in the pool. Special mention to our Tour Manager, Nina who was a delight - efficient, and very open and friendly.
Food: Evening meals were a 4 course nouvelle cuisine menu with a meat/fish/vegetarian option, or you could chose from 3 set menu options each night (steak, chichen breast etc). These were all very tasty, albeit low on the potato side of things! and on the 2 Captain's welcome/farewell nights there was also a palette cleanser sorbet course. Breakfast was a sumptuous spread of everything you could possibly want, with a chef cooking eggs/omelettes live to order. Lunch usually consisted of 2 "hot" dishes, sometimes cooked live, 2 soups, salads, etc, cheeseboard, cakes/desserts. You could also order a main course from the daily menu. Would have to say the hot dishes didn't stay very hot in the warmers, but it would have helped if the plates were warmed as well! Would have appreciated soup spoons as the one-size dessert spoons I felt were too big for the deep sided bowls. Wine, draught beer and soft drinks all included at lunch and evening meal. But bottled cider and beer were charged for.
Loved the Vienna concert and performance by Anton and Erin. Our only slight disappointment was that the Active PLUS cycle ride option the next day, which we really wanted to do actually coincided with the Masterclass onboard so we had a tough choice to make. Would have liked to have been able to do both!
Port and shore excusions were well organized and very enjoyable, with "gentle" options for those less mobile. Would have to say that if you want to see more of the embarkation location (in our case, Budapest) it would be best to arrive a day earlier. We boarded at 2pm the day we arrived and only got one morning to see the city before the ship sailed at 1pm for Bratislava. At the other end of the trip, Nuremburg, we were fortunate in that our transfer to Munich was not until 2pm so we were able to make our own way into the city for the morning (by taxi) and spend a few hours there before returning to the ship for lunch. Other passengers had morning transfers so saw nothing of the final destination as the ship docks some 15-20 mins drive from the city! The only other nuisance was that we were transferred to Munich airport 6 hourse before our flight, and were therefore lumbered with our luggage for 4 hours before the bag-drop opened. Read Less