This was our first Cruise and we had been advised by friends this would be a good place to start. How wrong were they !
Boarding at Southampton was not a problem to be fair shame it took a downward spiral !
First impressions of the ship were somewhat marred by a musty smell in the corridor leading to our stateroom on deck 8 (room 8304) must add this smell was not to be noticed elsewhere and our room though dated in outlook was fine apart from a stained and grubby looking sofa and carpet.
We chose 'Our Time' dining as we like to do our own thing an not to be stuck to a routine. Our first taste of dining was in the Windjammer which was self serve. The food though varied in choice was often found to be Luke warm and as a couple one out of the two of us had to sit and wait at our table while the other went for food. Two nights into the cruise we chose a formal night which was in the Sapphire a Dining Room, surroundings were very nice but the food left a lot to be desired, enough to put us off eating in there again , put it this way we ordered lamb it was that raw it was still running around the plate ! Which the following morning we both had bad stomaches.
The entertainment left a lot to be desired apart from a fantastic pianist in the 'schooner bar' David Curtis, who encouraged passengers to join in singing. Unfortunately this was marred by selfish parents who allowed their young children to run around the ship at all hours an often ruin the night (how a mother could sit on a stool beside a grand piano while the pianist played and proceed to change her baby's nappy, it's beyond words)
The bar staff tried their best to accommodate all guests but sheer numbers of passengers were just too much to cope with, this left you waiting quite a while to get served . To add to this toilets for M/F were located at each end of the ship, there were none near any of the bars and to make it worse when needed most nights either men's or ladies seemed to be having maintenance done which meant you would have to go to the other end of the ship as all floors were affected by this maintenance problem.
Our first stop was Gibraltar for the amount of people getting off an back on the timescale was not long enough . Next was Villefranche was next, you have to get up early an get a ticket to get a shuttle boat our ticket was no 17 which meant we waited another hour from the time we could get off the ticket numbers went beyond 30 some passengers gave up getting off! Villefranche was beautiful lovely beach . Next stop was Corsica what a horrid place next Sardinia got off 8am nothing was open til 10:30am ! Horrid place next was Mallorca (Palma) two days or day n half this was so worth it but when you got off we were not told you would have to pay 10 or 15 Euros for the shuttle bus. Next Malaga this was nice don't get a taxi from the port they rip you off. We got a taxi in town 25 Euros along the coast to either Torremelinos Benalmadena Fuengirola Or Marbella local bus was cheaper return for two 3.30 Euros straight to the port. Next Cadiz worst place of all total waste of time.
On the days at sea you have no chance of a sun bed unless you got up at around 6am not even enough chairs. Passengers were laying on the floor! Not a chance paid £5.5k for a cruise to lay on the floor! Adults only section only managed to get a bed 3 times in the two weeks what a joke. The other pool area well talk about 'Butlins at Sea' screaming kids running everywhere parents not looking after their kids, and the pool entertainment was so loud the seemed to be shouting bloody awful.
RC seemed to have a strange idea of what an English pub is like based on the Two Poets Pub on board, which which seemed intent on piping Irish old folk songs continually in a dark dull wooden effect surrounding more like Shakespeare era no atmosphere at all. There was a wine bar larger than the pub which was always empty when asking the staff why it was there we were advised Americans prefer this? But this cruise had 99%english on board ? What a waste of space. A good sports bar would have been good.
Disembarkment was swift thankfully as we could not wait to get off !
Dated Dull but clean apart from the sofa and carpet not exactly above 3*Rating
Nice but not long enough time
Beautiful but not long enough at destination
Fantastic definitely go there again
Lovely been there before would go again