We chose this cruise as we had been on the Christmas Market cruise for the previous 3 years and thoroughly enjoyed them.
This year was different. the atmosphere on board was unlike previous cruises. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it was almost as if everyone had given up for the year. Some of the crew worked really hard and were attentive to passenger needs but some seemed burned-out.
CMV got the itinerary wrong this year, going to Antwerp first and then Amsterdam. This meant leaving Antwerp before the Christmas Market was in full swing. We also arrived late at Amsterdam due to "out going" traffic delaying our passage through the lock.
The ship herself was as we expected, a little tired but comfortable, and was kept very clean.
The cabin (we had been given an upgrade to deck 11) was a good size, clean and comfortable, so no complaints on that score.
The food, we used the Bistro for convenience, was good and hot. Having complained in the past about the choice of vegetables I was happy to see an improved selection available.
We did not see any of the Shows this time so can only comment on the singer in one bar who was an improvement of a previous year. He seemed to have a degree of talent and a good voice.
We were disappointed that the Cruise Director did not make any announcements about the entertainment on offer, but then he was conspicuous by his absence. Another indicator of the lack of attention from CMV.
The shops carried the usual array of good, although the Duty Free shop was half empty and the staff seemed to lack any concern for customers. The range of cigarette brands was really poor and the staff offered no hope of this being rectified. It was a matter of fact attitude, "check in after 5pm when we leave Amsterdam and see what we have".
We were also disappointed with the "late night snacks" offered in the deck 7 bars. Waiters walked straight past our seats, told us they would attend to us on the way back, and when one of them did offer us something there were only 2 or 3 items left on his tray.
All in all, it was a cruise that lacked the Christmas Spirit. CMV have let their normally high standards drop.
Embarkation at Tilbury was excellent. No waiting, just straight through.
this was for the Christmas Market, and the ship couldn't get any closer. the downside was the early departure for Amsterdam, meaning that we missed out on the best of the market and it's atmosphere.