i arranged this cruise for my wife and it was a birthday surprise for her. This was our first cruise but i knew what i wanted with regards to service had talked to seasoned cruisers on what was to be expected. We made our own way to Southampton but when we got there, it was all well organised and efficient.
From the moment my wife and i boarded, we were treated with respect, nothing was too much trouble. the suite i had booked was spacious and the steward was attentive but inconspicuous. The food was out of this world, as was the service at the first set dinner times.The balcony was a great add on as we could sit out there ion the evening and soak up the ambiance.
The shows laid on were of the highest standards, I've paid to see shows that were not as good as these ones. The port excursions were not on interest to us as we went via taxi's at a better rate, we thought, than the excursions laid on. Dis-embarkation at all the ports we visited, were well thought out and very efficient. The acts ranged from a comedian to a 60's band who were extraordinary.
There were things to do on board all the time, you would never be bored, filling your time was easy. Although there was very few children on board when we traveled, There were a lot of activities available for the little one's should you have needed them. One issue was at dinner, everyone was trying to use the lifts and get into the restaurants at the set time, causing bottle necks. The foyer for our dining room, "The Bay tree" was tiny so trying to get out of the lifts and away from the doors, was interesting at times.
The various entertainment areas were very pleasant, waiters would wonder about, keeping out of the way, but was always there to supply your orders quickly and without fuss. The duty free shopping would have to be carefully done as you can pay more than you would on shore. They do offer a price match service that we took advantage of with two spirits we bought on board. We were not able to get a letter form the duty free shop on Gibraltar, but took a photo of the spirits concerned, the price label and the outside of the shop and showed it to the on board shop. they gave us an immediate credit for the difference. Very impressed with that.
on a downside, the ship's gift shop staff could be distracted with joking with each other whilst processing your purchase, There should have been more attentiveness to the Passenger rather than chuckles with their fellow assistance, it was only in this store though and all other sales assistants, were professional and attentive
We could not leave the ship when arriving at Monti Carlo because of weather conditions as it was too rough, a correct decision given the state of the sea, the captain gave his reasons which let us all know where we stood. Everything else was brilliant.
This voyage of enlightenment was marred only by the tragic incident involving a man who went overboard on our return to Southampton, our thoughts go out to the man's family. The captain was totally professional in his handling of this sad event. Both He and his officers did everything they could to locate this poor man, but to no avail.All passengers were kept fully up - dated as to how things were progressing and he and his officers were calm and responsive to the situation even as this was a dreadful, but thankfully, rare occurrence.
in conclusion, i can honestly say that this was a wonderful experience and one we will both be doing again given every opportunity. I think you would be very unfair to mark this in any other way than almost perfection.
Superb fittings all in good working order. was clean and very comfortable. Bed really comfortable and the bathroom, although compact, was roomy as well if that makes sense. Was more than sufficient though.
the curtains were awesome as didn't let any light in at all. Seating was comfortable and easy to relax in. Only issue was the lack of power with air con system, an issue in all cabins i understand but if doors left closed to the balcony, did slowly chill down. In conclusion,worth the money in spite of this.
although we didn't take any pre-paid excursions, we did go on our own with the use of taxis but the areas suggested by the cruise were very good and all that was written in the guides on ship, were accurate giving both the up's and downs of the visiting sites.
A idea as to what type of exertion would be required to complete a location was very helpful and objective.
Could not dis-embark as weather not possible to land safely
Good tips to make our own way around this town and Pizza.
Rome was wonderful in it's architecture but quite dirty as an environment, the info supplied though was correct and helpful
Different port of call, should have arranged a tour with this as could not get to see the rock and monkies as you could only use certain taxis to the area, there were town taxis but they do not venture to the rock or indeed out of town.
This was the only port of call that seemed to be inundated with flies, particularly in the square where most of the cafes are.