November 2019. Over the last decade, there has been something of a revival in interest and the number of people cruising, and sadly an equal number of operators providing substandard cruises.
Having cruised 8 timespreviously with P&O, NCL, and RCI, we decided a change was needed as the last P&O cruise we took two years ago nearly put us off cruising for life.
We booked the cruise 8 months in advance with Igloo online, paid and additional fee for a cabin 'guaranteed' to be on decks 6 or 7. When we arrived we were given a cruise card for our cabin on deck 2...argued our case with reception, but got nowhere. Determined not to let this spoil our holiday, we went to the buffet for a snack whilst waiting for our cases to arrive. I had a kind of stew, and bit into a raw sprout that couldn't even be cut with a knife. I tried to explain this to several members of staff, but none of them posessed enough knowledge of the English language to understand what I was saying. Undeterred, I put this to the back of my mind, and went to the cabin. An incredibly helpful, friendly and fun room stewardess welcomed my wife and me to the room, and we settled in. My wife soon noticed large amounts of black mould around the base of the shower. Of the 3 mains sockets, only one had UK 220v (and this was a 2-pin continental plug socket), the other two supplied 110v continental power. The beds (two singles pushed together) were rock hard...no give whatsoever - planks pretending to be beds. The TV had a constant hum, and played 5 movies on continual loop throughout the cruise, with no live tv, owing to 'an antenna fault that we're hoping to rectify'...but didn't. The drinks are all-inclusive, and I can see why. I asked for a Coke...I got a totally flat glass of Coke substitute..the spirits are all flooded with cheap mixers to the point where even a double is barely detectable, and you have to wait 15-20 minutes to get your drinks to arrive owing to the chronic lack of staff. The dining in the main dining room was something of a mixed bag. Again, too few staff (in common with every line these days) that constantly got your order wrong, especially breakfast time. It has to be said that although the portions were very small, the food was of a higher standard than P&O and light years ahead of Royal Caribbean...albeit never really more than warm at best. The head of house management were very full of themselves, and at times plain rude...one of them argued loudly with a guest (because he had arrived 4 minutes early) in front of a queue of guests. The entertainment...words cannot describe just how bad this was. A rude and mediocre acoustic guitarist appeared 4-5 times a day, every day, a deafeningly over-amplifies pianist, bashing out floor fillers, appeared 2-3 times a day, a talented saxophonist twice a day, constant quizzes, mock Tv game shows, and totally amateurish stage shows. All of them played Queen tunes to the point where you'd have thought they were a new band. To me, one of the best parts of a cruise are the evening shows, but even these were poor.(Push the entertainer into the pool...I kid you not...was reminiscent of Hi De Hi) After 4 days of trying to put a positive spin on things, I gave up, and waited for this particular horse to be put out of it's misery, and for the cruise to end. Most of the staff were friendly, it must be said, but overall the whole shebang resembled a working mens club at sea. Avoid. Please, avoid.
As mentioned, painfully uncomfortable bed, tired fitments, mould in the shower, repetitive TV, but truly superb stewardess.
Pretty little port, and enjoyable to just walk around.
Went to walk along the famous Las Ramblas...very crowded, with 4 shops in every 5 being a restaurant...disappointing.
Pretty port, plenty of old world charm, excessively expensive shops