First of all - the positives. The cabin was clean and comfortable, although showing signs of wear. The cabin steward was friendly and helpful, as were all the staff. Our excursion to Casablanca was great, the highlight being the Hassan II mosque. At Funchal and Santa Cruz we did our own thing. Lanzarote was interesting, but the visit was hurried and uninspiring.
Recommended: Look out for the Wine package, which is a really good deal. Pick up a leaflet at the beginning of the cruise, either from Customer Services or a wine waiter. Gives you a generous discount on either 4, 6 or 8 bottles of your own selection.
Re the dining experiences: all the food was good. Raffles buffet offered a great selection but, predictably, it was overcrowded, noisy, and all rather chaotic. Our preference for breakfast was Windows - but this was where they let themselves down. The menu is great, but the service was awful. On more than one occasion, we waited nearly an hour for the food to be served. And forget poached eggs or Eggs Benedict - hard as rocks (even when we asked for soft eggs). Also disappointing, Windows either closes or has restricted times on 'port days'.
Windows Main Dining was excellent for lunch though, which was good news as (unlike the Jade) Blue Horizon and Harry's Pub venues are both situated in the corridor! Walking traffic passing through all the time, at very close quarters.
For dinner, we had much better and quicker service in the Garden Main Dining Room, which doesn't make much sense as I believe they share the same kitchen. Similarly, the location and size of Champagne Charlie's is unwelcoming and awkward. On both the Jade and the Dawn this piano bar was a delight.
At the risk of sounding like a cheapskate, our main niggle was the service charges (now 18%), not only on all the drinks (including the mini-bar!) but also on the already hefty supplement applied to the Speciality Restaurants. The Bistro is lovely, and I was tempted by the Trattoria. But it felt like a rip-off.
I have never had a problem with the $12 per person, per day gratuity charge (now $12.95). It is a fair way to ensure that ALL the staff get their rewards. But I feel that this should include bar staff - the service charges on drinks in the bar and at the table make no sense. It makes even less sense when applied to the mini bar in the stateroom, and the supplemented restaurant charges.
So, a decent holiday. But it is a shame that much of what we remember is being "nickle and dimed"!
A little worn, but clean and spacious. Generous wardrobe. Shower and washbasin space more than adequate, but WC space cramped and awkward. Balcony very welcome.
Highlight of our cruise. Wonderful to see and fascinating history. Our tour guide (Federico) was informative and interesting. Our tour was around 4 hours long. Recommended.View All 58 Alhambra Palace and Gardens Reviews
Most of this tour is spent in the coach. But the landscape and history are interesting and there are opportunities for photos. Demos of the geisers and hot stones are a bit contrived, but fascinating nonetheless. Long queues at the entrance to the National Park meant that our tour was rather hurried once we had gained entryView All 13 Best of Lanzarote Reviews