An autumn get away to the sun was required, hence we chose the 14 night cruise to The Azores , Madera and the Canary Islands. We travelled down to Southampton the night before staying at the Chilworth Manor ( using their cruise and stay package, which includes Bed, Breakfast, 14 nights car parking, free tea/ coffee on morning of departure , late check out and taxi to and from the ship- excellent value). We had an evening meal at the Chilworth Arms that was very enjoyable and great value.
We travelled to the ship by taxi on the Sunday morning and arrived at 11.20. We are Elite members and walked straight to the check in. By 11.30 we were sipping the complimentary champagne onboard the ship- OUTSTANDING . We were told that the ship was going in for a re fit in May 2015, however I could not see what needed changing!!!!!!
We had an inside cabin (8173) on deck 8. The cabin and shower room were very generous, however my wife felt that a bit more storage space would have been helpful. The cabin was kept in immaculate condition by Ramon and his team.
We ate at Murano on 3 occasions - brilliant food and service
Tuscan Grill twice - enjoyable but not as good as Murano
Bistro on 5 once - we were disappointed with the "Crepes" as they were more like thick pancakes.
Moonlight Sonata Restaraunt on the other nights- food was generally good including fillet steak, Lobster and T Bone steak. However the second week of the cruise the food was served Luke warm and the waiting staff always seemed to be in a rush due to looking after to many tables.
Breakfast was delivered to our stateroom every day -on time and with a big smile
Cafe Baco was always crowded on sea days with to many people occupying tables for long periods of time instead of moving on and giving others a chance for a relaxing coffee.
Entertainment was varied and of good quality . We watched 9 shows and really enjoyed the variety.
Captains Club benefits were enjoyed and much appreciated.
The trip from Southampton to The Azores was very rough and many passengers were suffering from sea sickness. The staff were excellent at cleaning up several "accidents" and keeping the ship clean and tidy.
The weather calmed down however the sun did not shine -it was cloudy and warm for most of the cruise.
We took a 5 hour island trip on the Azores - nothing much to see.
Madera - we did the toboggan and cable car tour -excellent fun and value
Gran Canaria - we did whale watching -no whales but plenty of dolphins and flying fish
Tenerife - wine tour -again good fun and value
Lanzarote- what a tour - camel ride and fire mountain -Excellent tour of the national park ( they could have filmed the moon landing there) , demonstrations of the volcanic activity and a camel ride - what more could we want.
fuerteventura-5 hour tour -nothing much to see- however at $26 pp it was ok.
I would stay on the ship if we went to the Azores or Fuerteventura again.
The ship then sailed towards Lisbon , however due to bad weather the captain was forced to miss out Lisbon and Dock a day later at Vigo- the change was handled well by staff - with a full programme of activities arranged for the unexpected sea day.
Vigo- not much to do so we spent the day relaxing in the Aquaspa as most people were ashore.
Arrived back in Southampton, carried our own cases and was in a taxi by 6.25am -excellent disembarkation.