We are seasoned cruisers but never with Cruise and Maritime, so my partner and I along with 2 of our friends booked the Cape Verde Christmas and New Year cruise hoping for some winter sun which we got...
Embarcation: this was ok, we had our Embarcation time sent to us with the tickets and final cruise information, once out of our taxi at Tilbury, porters quickly and efficiently took our cases from us, we went inside the terminal and were shown the end of a long queue to check in...this moved however, quickly and we were checked in with no problems, we also booked our drinks package, which I must add was very good value at £17 per person per day...we certainly had our money's worth there.
We boarded the ship where a member of staff showed us to our cabin 6143, the cabin was clean and spacious enough with plenty of storage, bathroom with toilet, basin and shower (no bath) which was also clean, towels were replaced each day, we had a large double bed, (which were two singles pushed together) but were surprisingly comfortable, the bed linen although clean had seen better days and had holes in the sheets and duvet cover. We had tea and coffe facilities, which I understand was not enjoyed by the lower decks?? The TV lost its signal most of the times. Wifi was available at a charge but you could never get on it. Our cabin steward Nyoman was very friendly and quickly had our luggage installed in our cabin and offered to bring me more coat hangers which I appreciated...the wardrobe space was adequate.
Meals: We were on the 5-45pm sitting in the Waldorf Restaurant, and had a table just for the four of us, our waiters were friendly, funny and efficient in all aspects. The menu choices were good and the quality of food was very good, we also breakfasted in the Waldorf where a buffet was prepared where you helped yourself, lunch however, was a different story, this was a buffet selection in the Raffles bistro on deck 10, there was plenty of food choice but trying to get a table and chair was like finding a needle in a haystack!! It was also set out like a canteen, you could eat dinner up there, however, one side of it was sectioned off for the Indian cuisine which you paid extra for, making less tables and chairs available, my partner and I did not use the dinner service up there.
Public rooms: Taveners Pub, comfortable chairs, and pleasant surroundings, Sinatras Bar also had comfortable seating and a pianist playing most nights. A small casino with a few slot machines, 2 small card tables and 1 small roulette table. Then we had the Captains bar with a very small dance floor, the seats had seen better days, beading coming away from the chairs and dirty sofas with holes in the bottom foot boards. The Theatre was set on two floors which was very spacious, however, the entertainment was not so good. We had 3 comedians, 1 quite funny, 1 not so funny and 1 downright awful...the dance shows were ok, some were better than others, then there were the singers....1 male vocalist we did not like at all he just shouted his songs out...The Cruise Director however, introduced them as if they were the best west end stars...which I assure you they were not!!
Entertainment on sea days was awful. Quizzes which are fine but only if you could understand the questions, they were often done by one of the singers who were either from Eastern Europe or further afield and you could not understand their accent, there was only 1 English singer who we could understand....there were what we called children's games, ie: throwing bean bags in a bucket, thowing bean bags at tins to knock them over, and throwing little wooden horseshoes over sticks, there was a professional dance couple who tried to teach some dances, however the dance floor was so small we gave that up after the first 5 mins of the first dance lesson, there were some lectures that took place in the theatre, which were on planets and solar system, entertainers of the 50's 60's ect, also talks on Spanish recipies and Portuguese cooking, None of which we attended as we did not find them to our taste, All in all, I think the entertainment should be seriously looked at, as it stands it's abismal, there were long gaps in between the activities and nothing seemed to be consistent, there were some social dancers like ourselves among the passengers who could have been catered for, but no..nothing, and this is the first cruise ship we have been on that did not offer this activity, it would have been nice to have had an afternoon social dance. There was plenty of free time in the day for this.
We found that after a shaky start from the bar staff, lack of service, they stepped up and upped their game. Most of the staff were friendly and courteous, however, we did have a problem, the reception staff gave the impression that they could not be bothered with sorting it, which in fact was not sorted, until we reached home and sorted it ourselves.
We liked most of the countries we visited but unfortunately not the Cape Verde islands they took us to...very 3rd world we felt very intimidated especially when the local policeman told us to walk on one side of the road for our own personal safety..we thought that 3 days at sea to get there was a waste and then the 1 day back to Tenerife. I know there are lovely places in Cape Verde but not these two places Mindello and Praia..in Mindello we saw males urinating at the side of the road up the rocks, we were followed by beggars, I know that these ports rely on visiting cruise ships and the tourist trade, but they have got to make it feel and look safer.
We were disappointed on New Years Eve, it was spent at sea on deck as we were traveling to Lanzarotte, and we were freezing in our formal attire, we had been in the day at Gran Canaria where it was lovely and warm, and thought how nice it would have been to see some fireworks coming from the town as we welcomed 2018 from the deck.
Disembarkation: this was relatively painless, our suitcases were collected before midnight the night before, we had the disembarkation time left in the cabin a couple of days before, we had to vacate the cabin by 7-30am, had breakfast and joined the rest of the passengers to disembark, we were lucky and did not have to wait to long, our allocated time was 9-40am..once we had disembarked we found our luggage in our coloured area in no time, however 1 case had been slightly damaged, and my partners suit carrier had been put down in a puddle of water and had mud splashes all over the front. Outside the terminal we were shown to a taxi which took us to where our car was parked.
FOR: Good food, quality of food and choice. Friendly cabin Steward and waiters, adequate cabin. Plenty of sun loungers on the sun decks. Drinks package.
AGAINST: lack of good entertainment and no organisation of the entertainment, especially on sea days. No TV signal most of the time, WiFi was available at a price but you could never get on it. Lack of information and directions of how to get to main areas of ports visited for people not going on the expensive shore excursions. Not enough seats in Raffles Bistro for lunch, unhelpful staff on reception. Some areas of the ship need urgently updating.
I must point out that we do not need constant entertaining, but like to watch and participate in good entertainment which this ship did not provide.
This was our first cruise on Cruise and Maritime Maggellan and I am sorry to say it will be our last.