This was my first ever cruise and will be my last cruise! The late departure was because of their poor embarkation procedures. We were due to board at 14:30 and didn't board until 15:45 even though we were there in plenty of time! I do not think that the stabilisers were extended on our southern journey thus making things even more uncomfortable for the passengers. There was no form of compensation offered for the loss of 2 ports and the huge delays getting us into Funchal.
When it came to Madeira we had to use the tenders to land. I had no problem with this except for their sheer incompetence at lowering the boats. the first tender banged into the ship and broke two of its windows and damaged its rubbing strip. The second tender also hit the boat as it was being lowered which created a hole in the hull. We watched them repairing this with fibre glass! This left the lifeboats available for use which were slow and inappropriate. One wonders what would have happened if we had needed those tenders in an emergency - would they have been able to lower them without damage!
The rough seas caused many injuries but many more injuries were caused by the unsuitability of the furniture for cruising. Chairs that tipped over when you were sat on them (Scotts Bar and Marco Polo Lounge); tables not bolted down to the floor; handrails not available as you approached the top of stairs etc. The food in the Waldorf was excellent but never hot - always tepid and in the rough weather we had to demand tumblers instead of the wine glasses that were top heavy and crashing to the ground! One afternoon in the Marco Polo Lounge, because it was so rough, they turned all the tub chairs onto their sides so that they couldn't be used. This left their sharp metal bases pointing skywards ready to do huge damage should someone be unfortunate enough to fall onto them - no common sense and another fine example of inappropriate furniture!
The return disembarkation at Southampton and the subsequent coaches were well organised. The staff we came across were excellent.
The cabin was fine other than the drawers required some routine maintenance so that they stayed shut in choppy water! However the many sick bags provided made excellent wedges!