We booked the cruise via Saga, and were told that it was All Inclusive. The list included all on board gratuities. However, at the end of the cruise we were charged the standard £4 per day for this.
On the first day we did not know that we had the all inclusive drinks package. Fred Olsen had written to us inviting us to pay for this. However, once on board, our Saga rep told us that we already had this package included. Some miscommunication there between Fred Olsen and Saga.
Other than that the cruise was very enjoyable. The food was wonderful, the staff could not have been more helpful and friendly, and there were various on board activities and talks. We liked that the boat was relatively small, and the slick way in which it docked and left the ports was very impressive.
The time ashore was rather short, and as we chose not to go on any organised trips (very expensive), our options were somewhat limited. Just time for a short stroll around really. We didn't dare to venture too far for fear of missing the boat departure time. There were shuttle buses where the town was far for walking, and, as Saga passengers we did not have to pay for these, though others had to pay £5. It would have been nice to spend a couple of days in Madeira and miss one of the other islands. In fact, maybe miss two islands and spend more time at the other two? That might encourage us to book another cruise to the Canaries, next time seeing the islands missed. As it is, we will probably go on another cruise, but to a different destination.
We were given a four berth cabin, though there were only two of us. It was about comparable with a standard hotel room, though a little smaller, which we had expected. The two wardrobes were plenty large enough, with basket drawers for non hanging items. The bathroom had a shower, which was sufficiently large for us and a useful grab handle if the ship was moving much. We had two portholes to look out of. Had there been four of us, we would have been somewhat cramped.