• Ship Info The ship has recently changed hands, and now has a majority or Ukrainian Staff onboard. The catering staff are German. The ship is in dire need of refurbishment. Carpets on staircases are threadbare. The whole feel of the ship has changed dramatically since it was run by Orient Lines. The current management are not experienced, and there were often instances, where this inexperience showed through. The ship often sailed with a severe list to either Starboard or Port. The crew seldom were able to sail the ship at an even keel, which made it quite unpleasant. • Activities The activities on the ship are definitely aimed at the over 70 age group. Definitely not a ship for middle aged or younger people • Service There is a major problem with the understanding of the English language. The staff are willing, but do not understand what one is asking, so often get the request wrong. They are also quiet surly when questioned about anything. • Shore Excursions On the whole the Ports were interesting; The tours that we did, were good, except for the whisky tour of Highland Park Distilleries. This was poor. Despite the distillery undergoing major refurbishment, which prevented us being able to go into the room where the distilling took place, our tour guide was pathetic. He hardly understood the distilling process himself! The DVD which was shown to us to try and explain the distilling process was more interested in showing the scenery of the Orkney Islands, than the making of whisky. This visit should never have been offered, as the ship must have known that they would be under taking this major refurbishment of their plant at that time. In contrast the Glenmorangie tour was excellent. We also enjoyed the river cruise and scenic Dublin tour. The tendering process was not well managed. Often elderly and infirm people were boarded at times which caused major delays, instead of being boarded last. The competency of the staff was also brought into question on numerous occasions, and left us feeling very uneasy, should they be required to evacuate the ship in a real emergency. • Stateroom. These are aging, and in need of refurbishment. The cabin curtains do not close properly, so that you are woken up far too early with light coming through the window. The water in the showers, often fluctuated in temperature, so that one was either being "burnt" or frozen. On several occasions, we were without any water at all, and on the last few days, the water had a very unpleasant taste, and sometimes it was also discolored. Mattresses could also do with being replaced. The thermostatic controls in the rooms did not work. The rooms were either freezing cold or hot, and one was unable to alter this. The satellite TV was almost non existent. We only had Sky News, and this did not work for at least 60% of the time. The rooms were poorly sound proofed, so you could hear your neighbors in the adjoining cabin. • Dining On the whole, the food was nearly always luke warm when it arrived at the table. Despite meeting with the Hotel Director, this was not rectified over the whole trip. The lunches were very poor. The food was poorly presented, and very Germanic in its selection. • Entertainment The shows were quiet good, not as polished as on some of the other cruises we have done, but the overall quality of the performers was good. The resident band for dancing was poor. Entertainment • Public rooms The public rooms, were made very unpleasant, due to the fact that the Starboard side of the ship was designated "smoking". In such a small ship, this meant that even when you are sitting on the Port side, you have the terrible smell of smoke. The public rooms were also totally insufficient for the number of passengers on the ship. Invariably, you could never find a seat in either of the lounges, or in the buffet. Although the weather was not always great, on the odd sunny day, the swimming pool was never available to use. • Disembarkation. This is very slow - took well over 2 hours to get bags ashore before we could start disembarkation - again this would suggest and inexperience at managing this operation. All the bags had to be hand loaded off the ship!
Overall, the current management have an awful lot to learn about running a slick enjoyable cruise. This is a ship to be avoided, until they get their act together.