Ok, I'm giving this cruise 4 out of 5, so don't get my negatives below out of proportion.
THE GOOD: Food (oh the food!), dining room service, the ship's "bridge" officers, bar staff, housekeeping. Cabin. The weather. Unbelieveable value for money (even the arranged flights were a bargain). The sea surface (a doddle). Embarkation. The ship: easily big enough, and beatifully maintained. Most ports of call: Maderia: clean, safe, beautiful. Santa Cruz: bustling Spanish city; get out of town. Recife: Now we're in Brazil. Keep your expectations low. Beach reminded me of Waikiki. Salvador. Loved it. Take the little ferry to the island with all the locals. Rio de Janeiro. More than I'd imagined - in the toursit areas, any way. Beaches to die for.
THE BAD: Cruise director. Ugh what a pain, so out of her depth, she was nausiating. Final port: Santos / Sao Paulo. Don't go here if you don't have to. Nothing of merit, lots and lots of squalour and crime. Incessant on-board announcements of BEENGOH! Look, no-one was showing up, so do they cancel it? No, they bring it to the pool area! Puleeze! The UGLY: Without doubt the worst department, by far, was Guest Services. It would take me an age to list all the problems that they created / ignored / refused to fix / denied existed. Not just passengers were fed up with the Purser's office staff. I won't name them, but several crew had given up on these people by the end of the cruise. "You have to do this" "You have to do that". "It's not possible". You know the litany of cover-up phrases that inept people - a whole department - uses. "Oh, that form should have been delivered to your cabin". The times I heard that. I'm an accountant so I know how such an office should be run. But anything they got involved with was a shambles. The blatant erros in the daily planner, "Compass" became an ongoing joke. I hope the powers at RCI HQ get to read this. Please, do yourselves and your future passengers a big favour - dump the lot of them. Put someone in charge who can manage people and get things done - properly, first time. When you think that their work spills over into security: immigration forms that either didn't exist or were not needed, it starts to get a little frightening.
I'm now going to return to my overall score: 4 out of 5 (it would have been five but for you-know-who). Notwithstanding, we had a great time and have wonderful memories of all the friends we made on board - guests and staff. Thanks to you for making it a great vacation.