First southbound cruise of 7 weeks for this ship with CMV .
People on board mostly retired Australians, New Zealanders and Brits. Mostly very seasoned cruisers. Ship was not completely full so no queues or crowding anywhere. Probably the most spacious cruise I have been on. Always a deck chair available at deck 10 pool if not on deck 11.
Ship is more than 20 years old belonging first to two other cruise companies. Public areas have been updated stylishly under previous owners, cabins less so. However it is kept very clean and meticulous measures were in place to prevent any infectious outbreaks. ( only a minority succumbered to chest infections and D and V .) High cost of medical attention quite a shock but travel insurance companies may want to follow that up. There were plumbing issues as well ..... a negative for some cabins which were quickly attended to and passengers often moved to other cabins. Aircons required attention in several cabins. Those were the only negatives.
The positives far outweighed the negatives. The entertainment first class. Usually two shows in the comfortable Hollywood 2 tiered theatre a night . The music, choreography, lighting, sound as well as the dancers and singers outstanding. Comedians a required taste. Also a movie was shown each night in the auditorium ( aircon at level 7 chilly so warm clothes required) Guest lecturers, 3 on board all quite different in subject matter and presentations very good. Unhosted card and other games organised for passengers in the many areas on decks 7 or 8 . Trivia, bingo and other games throughout the day, too. Plenty of physical activities, Aquarobics, Pilates and Zumba. And except for Bingo all this was included in the price . Other entertainment organised extremely well for specific days plus a passenger master chef completion on the long stretch of sea days. Classes in creative writing, ukulele lessons, a choir , watercolours etc made the sea days interesting and new skills learnt.
Food . As stated, most passengers seasoned cruisers and vast majority more than satisfied with choices, presentation and flavour. Occasional whingers but that is normal on a cruise. Four nicely decorated areas for dining without extra charges. Two for extra charges.
Drinks package good value if you like three or more drinks a day. Plenty of bars on board and a good variety of drinks. .Good quaffable wine ( mostly Greek and Spanish on this cruise) could be purchased by the bottle from AU$30 upwards a bottle. Gratuities were AU$12 a day ( you were allowed to opt out) and gratuities included in the drinks package.
Shore excursions organised by the ship not overly expensive at all when compared with private tours. I did a a variety of ships, private and local transport and I had no complaints with the ship tours except in hot Acupulco where some of the minivans had trouble with their aircon . With fourteen ports of call plus the Panama Canal ( an expert commentary during the daylight trip through) I was not disappointed. The reason I chose this cruise was for its many ports of call and I was so pleased with each day’s activities on land. It is best to have a pile of small denomination US dollars if you want to purchase goods or use cafes for (very unreliable in the Pacific Islands) wifi.
Staff / crew were struggling a bit ( mostly all new from the start in Amsterdam) to start with but became excellent. Always obliging and only rarely not smiling.
Wifi. Satellite connection not reliable on board or in port on Pacific Islands. Overcrowding of wifi in cruise terminals meant connections not always possible.
Sea was surprisingly smooth all along . A few mornings only where you felt the swell. All the tenders got to port where the ship could not tied up. In Nuku Hiva it was a bit of a struggle for two tenders but we made it.
Overall very happy with cruise. As I travelled solo there were a few functions organised early to meet up with other fellow solos and I enjoyed their company. As a solo I was always asked if I would like to share a dining table ( except of course in the Buffet) so kept meeting new and sometimes the same diners with great and sometimes not so great conversations.
Spacious enough. Dated but kept very clean. Plenty of storage . No fridge ( as advertised) . TV old but functional. Hairdryer included . One European and one Australian socket for electric appliances.
Pool towel supplied in cabin as well as all linen but as mine was a cheaper cabin, no robe or slippers. Soap, shampoo and conditioner supplied but I bought my own. Shower curtain changed regularly.
Adjustable aircon and although no problems with mine, attention required in other cabins.
Very comfortable bed.