I am driven to writing this review by the one written by another member who appears to have travelled on a very different ship to me, yet on exactly the same itinerary and exactly the same time and on a ship with the same name! That's a bit unfair, because I do agree with some of his statements. Yes, the food was pretty good in the Seven Continents restaurant, but if you were doing a back to back as I did it's a bit boring to be faced with exactly the same menu on the second leg! Where we fall out is in relation to the top deck cafe - the Lido. This has an ambiance akin to a motorway service station, has rotting floors, a leaking roof and, towards the end of the cruise by which time I think some crew had jumped ship in the Ukraine, continually short of cutlery and mugs. "Relax areas", may be adequate in cooler climes such as those when orford.len was on board, but woefully inadequate when the sun shone.
Points of agreement: Cruise Director Kate had the voice of an angel and the entertainment team, all Eastern European, were excellent. Yes, one of the comedians was pretty poor, but the Welshman had some wonderful observational humour. The Classical duo on the first 75% of our trip were excellent and had a good following until the venue was changed to the cabaret area where, let's be honest, constant chatting and drinking are not a good mix with classical music! Embarkation for us at Barcelona was superb, although I'll add some adverse comments about flights later on!
Back to disagreements now: one of the lecturers was dire - his talk on Churchill a great disappointment and largely a motley collection of "Churchill moments".
We had read the reviews of Cruise and Maritime before booking and so our expectations were not high and therefore you could say that our expectations were met! We had sailed on Discovery 5 years earlier when she was a Grand Dame of cruisers, today she is better described as Grandma Quite what refurbishment took place in Genova this year, I'm not sure - many of the soft furnishings are tired, in places there is more paint than steel and the teak decks are in a poor way. She still has the advantage of looking like a ship.
What attracted us was the itinerary and that did not disappoint in any way, although 3 days in Piraeus was too long (I suspect the ship's owner/manager is based there, so that may have influenced things a bit).
What really disappointed and fell way below expectations was the poor organisation and customer service of CMV: flight details were really late in arriving and there was no debate/feedback about upgrades etc.. The outbound flight with Easyjet was pretty chaotic for CMV passengers as we were pre-allocated seats by CMV with partners not sitting together and no ability to change - although negotiation with the other travellers so affected resolved the situation when on board the plane. Passengers joining the cruise in Athens from Gatwick were in a far worse position as their flight had been re-timed at the last minute to arrive in the early hours of the morning following the day they were supposed to arrive - this meant that their cruise was in fact one day less than planned! This meant that the passengers leaving in Athens were also subject to that 12 hour delay. Our flight from Istanbul was also re-scheduled, just 36 hours before departure and this meant a lot of individual re-scheduling for those with connections from Gatwick. I just don't believe that CMV did not know about this beforehand - if they didn't, they should have.
Finally, I have tried to make sure that my comments are not coloured by the fact that I came down with a really nasty tummy bug just 12 hours after leaving the ship!