We booked this cruise mainly for the price. For 15 nights we paid what we would normally pay for 7 so thought it was a good deal. Very very wrong.
First mistake was choosing- accidently- the 'free coach and ferry' option. Information was very scant and nothing was confirmed until the actual tickets arrived. Did not get any response from emailing CMV customer services for information. The cruise we chose did NOT start at Tilbury on board the ship. We had to be at Tilbury for 11.00 pm when a coach collected us and took us for a 2 hour drive to Dover. At Dover we boarded the 02.00 am ferry to Dunkirk. From there was a 3 hour drive to Rotterdam to join the ship.
Although the journey was very comfortable and went smoothly, it was totally exhausting as sleeping on a coach is not ideal. We did not know this until it was too late to change or cancel. If we had known we would not have booked. To actually get on the ship at Tilbury would have been another £400 for the 2 of us.
On arrival at Rotterdam we were checked in quickly and efficiently and taken straight to our cabin 6228 on deck 6 as we were told it was ready. When we got there the cabin steward was still cleaning it.
Probably the worse cabin we have ever seen. 2 single beds with 2 very small duvet covers with surplus cover hanging over the edge. Very old furniture - in fact we went on this same ship 10 years ago when it was the Ocean Village and the curtains were exactly the same as was was the furniture.
We prefer to use the buffet on cruises simply because we are not the type of people who 'dress up' for dinner and neither do we like sitting around a table with up to 6 other people. This was the first cruise out of 16 we have been on where the buffet was open only at certain times of the day. Breakfast was from 7 - 9.30 - lunch was 12 -2, afternoon tea was 3.30 to 4.30 and dinner was 6 - 9.30. In between there was only tea and coffee machines available. And NO water. Unbelievable considering we were visiting hot countries and water is essential. The food was absolutely disgusting and we actually thought we were on a vegetarian cruise. I have never seen so many dishes of vegetables. Cauliflower curry, undercooked fried fish, cold potatoes, chips only served twice in 15 days (not that we live on chips but the are always a good standby). Most nights and indeed some afternoons we lived on burgers from the alfresco bar on deck. This had a great choice of fast food - burgers or hot dogs! At least they were edible.
At 3 different ports we ate off the ship purely out of hunger!
Entertainment was awful. The theatre had the ships cast dancing and singing every other night and they were very amateurish. Singing was terrible and very loud. There was a 'famous guest impressionist' who nobody had ever heard of and we walked out after 5 minutes. Did not sound a bit like any of the people he was supposed to be impersonating.
There was little or no entertainment inside the ship apart from quizzes, bean bag skittles, bingo and more quizzes. A BBQ on deck was a wash out as it was started during pouring rain and just moved under shelter. On sea days of which there was 8 there was no extra entertainment laid on at all.
We quickly noticed that the crew were only friendly if you were spending money at bars or in the coffee shops.
Public areas were the one big difference. Absolutely spotless, and it was clear these areas were where the money had been spent on refurbing. All very comfortable and nicely decorated. Unfortunately ALL the windows looking out to sea where so dirty you couldn't see out of them.
Overall the worst cruise we have ever done and would not have booked it if more information was available. With any other cruise line you could find out absolutely anything and everything before you book to make deciding easier.
All I can say is that it was clean. However the whole cabin needed a refurb. The sink had to be seen to be believed especially as the toilet and shower looked new. Tea and coffee facilities in the cabin but the tea was 'black tea bags' and, for us, undrinkable. We actually bought some English tea bags in 2 ports. Bring some milk down to cabins for drinks as 4 little pots twice a day is not enough. Our steward was very generous but didn't understand about the English and their cup of tea! Good sized window was great but so dirty it was hard to see out of.