Southampton to Lisbon including St. Malo, Bordeaux, Bilbao and Porto. The ship is new and beautiful, public spaces well-designed and elegant. The service was mostly outstanding from cabin attendants, butlers and the waitstaff. One exception was in Atlantide where service was extremely slow and at times a bit unpolished. Hot Rocks Grill in the evening was also slow and the food was bland. Food in general was better than expected with highlights being the various lobster dishes being stellar in every venue. It’s rare to find well-prepared lobster on a ship but it was consistently excellent. However, we ended up avoiding chicken dishes after experiencing several over-cooked, dry dishes. The highly touted pizza was inconsistent - sometimes just not good and once was very good. Cocktails were interesting and well-prepared but the included wines almost always disappointed. The reds may have been slightly more palatable but the whites were almost undrinkable with champagnes and proseccos being average to sub-par. In most venues we asked for alternatives that were rarely any better. There were low-key fun cooking classes in a dedicated space. The instructor was quite engaging and knowledgeable even though the recipes were fairly basic and I didn’t learn anything new.
The gym was nicely equipped but far too small for the 500 plus passengers onboard, especially during Covid. It was packed every time I went early and midday. Entertainment was low-key and varied by venue with the duo in Silver Note being outstanding. The performances in the main Venetian Lounge being a little shaky and amateurish. Upgraded premium WiFi was a daily struggle and still extremely slow.
The included excursions were the real weak spot. We tend to cruise based on itinerary so the ports are important. The mask requirement was poorly and inconsistently enforced and some of the guides were disorganized and did not manage time very well. Some of the busses were quite crowded. It is a poor value to pay for included excursions and to then have to book private excursions to escape the tedium. We look at a cruise ship as a floating hotel to get us to the ports of interest but we expect the excursions to be at the same level of luxury as SS strives for on the ships…the excursions just did not measure up. The dress code is also a real negative with SS. We don’t cruise to swan about the ship in formal attire. Until SS improves the included excursions and relaxes the dress code we are unlikely to book any future cruises with them.
Cabin was roomy tor such a short cruise. Decor was nice and the cabin was quiet. Bathroom very functional with separate tub and shower.
If you didn’t go to Santiago Compostela then there is just nothing interesting to see near this port. The included excursion we booked was basically a long boring bus ride.