Arrival and check-in - what a terrible experience! Not a good start. We arrived around 1.15pm and checked the car in to CPS. This was the most efficient part although the lady didn’t really explain things that clearly. We assumed they would have someone to take our luggage from us here but instead we had to take it over the road to another area. Then we joined the extremely long queue for the COVID test. This was outside in the cold and it started to rain just as we lost roof shelter. Thankfully it stopped quickly. Once we got into this building we thought we would be at the Covid test point but it was sadly another very long queue inside this cold building. Someone checked our COVID vaccine paperwork after about 30 minutes inside. The process took 90 minutes or more in total. I think over 2 hours before we boarded which wasted the afternoon. We also have a cruise booked in November but will be cancelling if the process is the same. My dad is disabled on 2 walking sticks and nobody offered help despite me booking wheelchair assistance for checking in.
After the test we waited with everyone else in a packed terminal. Ironically they offered wheelchair assistance here! I guess we or others could have given us covid in the time we waited for the results! Once onboard we had to report to our muster station. Unfortunately ours wasn’t listed on the boarding card as they had not allocated our guarantee cabins at the time of printing the boarding pass but I recall seeing F somewhere when I logged so we headed to that one which was correct.
Laundrette - free but need washing powder. We took the tablets on with us. Others said they were charging £1 for one tablet.
Cabins steward only comes round in the mornings now, no evening service.
Personally I prefer this but others did not.
Cabins we a nice size, nice decor and curtain. Beds are extremely comfortable. Far better than Royal Caribbean which who usually cruise with so you will notice I compare the 2 in my reviews for those who wonder the differences etc.
The temperature control however is inefficient and seems to be whatever it wants. No numbers just blue or red dots! Temperature varied a few degrees on the same setting.
In room kettle and tea/coffee is handy. Hairdryer was hidden in the wardrobe as they clearly forgot why they used to have drawers near the mirror when they designed this ship! When checking I hadn’t left anything the last day I found the end of the dryer. Also the kettle and hairdryer have the odd 2 pin plugs - not sure why on a British Ship.
I had 3 cans of water in my cabin, one telling me I can fill out the form to get 15% off 6 at a bargain price £7.25! Shockingly expensive!
My dad only had 2 cans. His cabin steward said one was free, one wasn’t.
My steward said 2 of my 3 were free, one wasn’t in mine. Reception told me they are all free and just ask for me free ones! Then reception rang someone and said 2 are free in each and the head cabin supervisor would meet me straight away in my cabin to confirm. Not sure why that was necessary I just wanted clarification. Needless to say I never saw anybody anyway.
My bathroom (9302) smelt of mould or damp - the shower didn’t drain away so I assumed this was the issue and asked reception who said they would send the plumber. The next day as I saw my cabin steward I mentioned it and he said he would look at it. Later on he said plumber may still come and look. Later than day I noticed it drained better but sadly the smell never did go for the rest of the cruise. Should I really have to keep reporting this?
You need your cabin card in the slot to keep the lights etc.on. I use an old store card etc. It works the same.
The cabin balconies underneath us on deck 8 were overlooked by our cabins and above. Our balcony was slightly overlooked but it is a very large balcony so some was underneath and out of view.
Their shampoo is very dry, no conditioner. No face cloths, but the cabin steward said we can have them if we ask. I wonder what else we can have but we have to ask for. I asked for conditioner on day 2 and he gave me 2 bottles. I then asked for face cloths. Day 6 they never got replaced but he was overall excellent.
There is a handy night light outside the bathroom door controlled by the switch by bed.
The lamps by the bed were too high up. I couldn’t reach them laying down.
Sofa - or sofa bed not comfortable to sit on at all. Also a lot of debris and dirt around the bottom edges, it could do with a good hoover. The room chair was very comfortable. Nice desk space.
Cabin lacks any drawers to put things in.
Also no USB ports! For a new ship (2020) this is not good. Luckily I thought to put the plug in in case.
Zeebrugge - lovely day on day one. Shuttle buses to the terminal and for the train to Brugge. The shuttle takes 25 minutes to Blanknburg and you get the train to Brugge there.
Due to 45mph winds forecast the captain advised us late evening that we would now stay in Zeebrugge for another day instead of going to Rotterdam tomorrow. This means one less day at sea which is good. The plan is still for 2 days in
Rotterdam and then Le Havre on Friday instead of Thursday. I said to a few people, the forecast is 50mph on Wednesday when we are due to leave Rotterdam so we will see what happens.
Day two, they left the door open on deck 6 in Zeebrugge in the howling wind/gales making everywhere freeing cold and even up to deck 7.
The Chocolate factory in port only opens when a cruise ship is in - that is near the terminal.
Found some very helpful ladies in charge of getting us back on who told us this and that everything was closed in port.
Rotterdam - terrible wether both days really. We ventured off to the Delft pottery and Delft tour. Could have been an hour longer really. More time at the factory was needed. Nice little town plenty of cafes. The drink included on the tour was another 15 minute walk past the dozens of cafes where we stopped for some reason. Most people stayed local.
We booked this tour as it said a short walk but we done 5k in total! The guide was very knowledgeable.
Day 2 in Rotterdam we stayed onboard due to the high winds and rain.
The Captain told us at dinner time that again, due to high winds we would now have to stay another night (2 nights, 3 days in total) in Rotterdam. We would leave Friday at 7am and that means Le Havre was cancelled.
Day 3 in Rotterdam we just ventured out locally but got blown along so gave up and headed back on after a little while.
The Metro station is left as you leave the terminal just on the end. I think it was approximately 4 euros 50 for 2 hours or 8 Euros for the day.
Also the tram station was there too, same price I believe.
Previously we have taken a taxi to the tower and also walked over the long bridge (note it is further than it looks) and taken a boat trip up the river. These are the long boats you can on the other side of the bridge. There is a nice souvenir shop there too.
Annoyingly were were told we must take passports ashore in both ports but never once got asked for them.