This was my wife and I's first cruise and thought it best to start with a short 7 day cruise to see if we liked it. Our friends and family who have been on cruises have been raving about them and saying that once you do one you will be hooked. We travelled as a party of 5 with my wife's sister and brother in law as well as her dad
First the positives
all of the staff on the ship were without doubt some of the most pleasant and helpful we have come across from our cabin steward (Anil) to our waiters in the Bay Tree restaurant and all the entertainment team.
The dancing instructors (Roanna and Goran) were great and very helpful with beginners like us. We managed to do quite a few of their classes and saw their evening shows. It was a real highlight of the cruise.
We went for the select dining option and had the bay tree first sitting at 6:30 which meant that we didn't have to wait for a table. The food was of good quality and the wine package was a good deal so worth considering. The prices were in line with high street restaurants with a very good selection and quality. The selection of food changed every night with some choices always available.
The evening entertainment shows were excellent from the comedians to the dancing and singing shows. The standard was very high and you would have to pay a great deal for these in your local theatre.
there were loads of day time entertainment options and even a large children's area which we didn't visit but seemed well organised.
the other passengers were on the whole the complete opposite of the staff i.e. rude and didn't seem to be enjoying their holiday
the ship seemed to have some technical problems which meant that it could not call at Oporto as planned and seemed to more unsteady than we had been led to believe. This led to the pools being out of action some of the time as well as an additional day at sea which could have been the cause of the issue with our fellow passengers
the air conditioning in the cabin made it quite stuffy even with the thermostat turned down to the minimum. It was great to have a balcony so that we could open this to get fresh air
the food in the buffet restaurant could be a little sloppy and not very hot, this was not helped by our fellow passengers who insisted on piling their plates so high and taking lots of food. For breakfast its probably best to go for something cooked to order e.g. an omelette or poached eggs to ensure you get piping hot food
Would we cruise again - definitely but probably try a different cruise line like Cunard or a river cruise
Great to have a balcony and could not have done without it. B deck seemd a good choice as the balconies were not overlooked from above and the balcony was big enough to sit out on. The ones on the lower decks seemd to be bigger but you were overlooked from above.
The bed was comfortable but could have done with clean sheets and pillowcases.