We choose this cruise, Vantage Cruise Line's "The Hidden Gems of the British Isles and Ireland" ,because it went to the islands north of Scotland- the Isle of Skye, the Outer Hebrides, and the Orkney Islands- to see sites like the prehistoric Callanish Stones and 3,000 year old Skara Brae. We started the cruise in Poole, England, visited Tresco on the Isles of Scilly and two ports in Wales, and then got to Dublin- where the ship stayed for the remainder of the trip. As a matter of fact, it is still there 3 weeks later, detained by the Port Authority for having 'unsafe life boats and a crew untrained in safety proceedures', according to numerous reports available for viewing by googling 'Problems with Variety Voyager Cruise Ship'! After our day in Dublin, this became a bus trip of Ireland. They carted us around in whatever buses they could find on short notice- old ones with broken seats and seatbelts and no legroom at all. After a couple of days we moved to a hotel in Belfast where we continued our bus tour. Any sites we visited left a lot to be desired and we were never given enough time to see an entire exhibit because we had to leave to get to some little town for shopping time! Vantage says they provided us with comparable tours- really? Do you really think a bus trip to Kilkenny is equivalent to seeing Skara Brae or the Callanish stones??? This is not what any of us paid for! Now Vantage travel says that they are not responsible because it was a third party ship!
As for the Variety Voyage itself, the ship was not what we expected- absolutely nothing like the pictures in the catalog or on the internet.
The food was terrible- always over cooked and over salted. Meals were very plain and choices were minimal- meat or fish, potatoes, and a semi-cooked vegetable. Breakfast was the same everyday. There was always a tray of croissants and pastries baked until they were dark brown, dry, and crunchy. It was the same with all the breads, rolls, and bagels. You would think they would get the hint something wasn't right when nobody ate any of them.
The high point of this cruise was probably moving into the hotels- the rooms and food was definitely better!
Our cabin was of adequate size but the closet space was minimal. Everything had to hang at an angle because it was too narrow. We found after a few days that the backing of the mirrored closet doors was peeling off and getting all over my husband's sport coat and shirt sleeves. The laundry tried to get it off but couldn't. When we got home, a dry cleaner got the stains off the jacket but the shirts are a lost cause. Shelf storage was limited. The first thing we were told when we got into the cabin was 'don't drink any water- drink bottled water only'! We have been on many cruises but were never told this before. The room smelled musty and the Roman shade was broken and pulled up only on one side. The bathroom was adequate but also had little storage and the shower held water. We never had a problem with it getting so full that it overflowed onto the bathroom floor but cabins on other floors did.