Change my view on cruising: Cruise Review by craigstephenson
Overall Member Rating
Change my view on cruising
Destination: Baltic Sea
The last cruise we did was in the Mediterranean and afterwards I vowed that I would never go on another cruise again. However after being approached by a friend about this trip to Norway and looking at the itinery & price we booked it.
It was leaving from Hull and only living a few miles away, the thought of no Q's to Q, airport lounges, uniformed I'm very impotent (oh sorry Important) in my hi-vis jacket officials so we booked.
On arrival at Hull our case where collected and we were directed to the waiting mini bus that dropped us of at the terminal to check in. The check in and wait to board the ship could have been quicker and could be speeded up but never mind it didn't spoil that start. On arrival at our cabin our luggage was waiting for us, it was a quick 10 minutes to unpack and head to the upper decks to explore our environment for the next few days.
First More impressions of the cabins were that they were clean and comfortable with enough hanging space for clothes as well as drawers and shelves for other items along with a safe to put our valuables (not that I felt we needed it). The bathroom was more than adequate to take care of our requirements and throughout the trip hot water was always on tap (well it would be wouldn't it).
Throughout the trip the cabins (ours was 4038) were always kept spotless and clean no sooner did you leave your cabin and our cabin steward had been in and checked all was OK and folded clothes or towels, replace toilet tissue or folded down the covers and closed the curtains for the night. Yes it wasn't exactly the quietest cabin but then we are on a ship so I would rather hear something rather than nothing, and with a new found use for cotton balls (along with a drink or two) after the first night and a comfortable bed sleep never became a problem.
The public areas were again spotless, the Piano bar situated at the front (the pointy bit) is quiet but with great views over the front of the ship, the Hollywood Suite is situated in the middle which does a Cabaret every night (now I'm not a Cabaret sort of person) but we enjoyed the comedian on two nights along with the Abba tribute show on the last night, and 'Hamptons' (at the blunt end my partner doesn't understand nautical terms) is more lively but not over the top. We never had to wait for a drink more than 5 minutes throughout the trip as the waiting staff are always ready to serve. Drink prices were reasonable considering (Bitter is served in cans Boddingtons & John Smiths) but at Â£3.15 per can* I can stand that. (*time of writing April 2012).
The food in the Kensington restaurant was excellent offering at least 6 courses with a different selection every night, our waitress' Alla' took great pride in ensuring that every meal was exceptional and with the help of the catering staff this was achieved every night. At both breakfast and dinner we opted for the Boathouse restaurant this served buffet style food which again never disappointed and with the freshly cooked to order omelette this hit the spot most mornings.
We never went on any organised trips as at all the places we docked there was ample things to do and after checking things out on the web prior to going we were not disappointed (that's not to say the trips aren't worth doing as I can't recall hearing one complaint throughout the trip about any of them).
All in all this cruise has changed my view on cruising and although the ship isn't the newest or the biggest what it lacks in modern touches it more than makes up for in its friendliness and intimacy. And I hope if you have booked this trip you enjoy it as much as we have. Well done CMV and keep persevering at Hull it will get better and worthwhile given effort and my vote for the best member of staff goes to you all (I am just browsing the brochure now for another trip).
If I had to criticise anything apart from the bloke who moaned about everything even the TV in the little side area showing the Chelsea v Barcelona Champions League on silent (I don't think anyone would have shouted man overboard had he slipped) is the rip off prices for photo's but take your own photo's and save the Â£10 - Â£20 they charge for each one !!! (as my partner says I am a Yorkshireman)