Most of Louis Cruises ships sail out of Marseille. For us this was a bonus because to fly into Marseille was a simple and straightforward option. We were flying from Faro in the Algarve and their options on destinations is fairly limited. The downside is although Marseille is quite a pleasant place to explore, it is full of undesirable people and therefore not very safe.
We arrived at the port by taxi and was dropped at the terminal, something resembling a very large warehouse. Inside a Que formed leading up to two scanning machines which is where we dropped the luggage.
From here we were taken upstairs where we started the booking in procedure with staff from the ship. This was quick and straight forward. We were issued with security cards and boarded the ship. We were taken to our cabin an outside junior suite. It was quite a large room with double bed, sofa, armchair, table, wardrobe and bathroom with bath and shower. Within 30 minutes our luggage arrived and the two guys looking after us in the cabin introduced themselves. They did an excellent job throughout the cruise and were always eager to please.
We had a good look around the ship and it certainly had all the basics. A la carte restaurant, further restaurant al fresco out on deck, lounge with bar where you could also get snacks, entertainment lounge, library, casino ( afew slot machines and a couple of tables, hardly Las Vegas) two swimming pools (plunge pools) and a duty free shop. There is a capacity of less than 900 passengers and about 350 crew.
A typical day started with breakfast we were shown to a table in the a la carte where we were given tea or coffee and orange juice. The food was the norm, cooked being sausage, bacon eggs mushrooms etc or continental pastries, fruit toast. I believe the other restaurant did more or less the same with the option of omelettes.
Lunch was in either restaurant again. We opted for the deck which had 4or 5 hot dishes, an excellent selection of salads and cold cuts or burgers. Tea and coffee was also available.
About 4 O'clock was afternoon tea, obviously tea, coffee biscuits and cakes.
Evening meal was served at 6.45 and 9 p.m.We elected to take the later sitting and was shown to a round table seating 8 people, this we were to keep for the duration of the cruise. We were joined by other English speaking people with whom we formed good friends. Dinner started with appetizers, starters, main, sweet and tea or coffee. Some had wine or drinks. You could buy a drinks package but it seemed to have quite a few exclusions, so we opted out and just bought as and when. Tea and coffee was included in every meal. The staff again were always eager to please and did an excellent job in serving us.
From here you could have a drink in the lounge or go and see entertainment in the "Stars lounge" which appeared to be of low quality and a lot of audience participation.
Except for the fist day when we were at sea there were stops every day at various ports. The excursions office seemed very busy but we thought they were on the expensive side. e also like to do our own thing and not herded around. We did take the Rome trip because of the distance involved and the short time in which to see an awful lot.
Two days before the trips end we were asked to complete a tip form. They suggested 8 euros a day per person but you could put anything you wanted. We put 0 and opted to tip the cabin staff and waiters at our table personally. We were told that tips left through the official route are retained by the cruise line and not passed on to the staff.
For us a first timers we were extremely happy with the comfort of our room the food and the attitude of just about all the staff on board. We were told by several "professional cruisers" that in their opinion the ship was of low standard and the only way is up.
I have done a blog which includes the ports we visited and a basic summary, this can be seen at www.louiscruises.blogspot.com
We had an outside junior suite. It was quite a large room with double bed, sofa, armchair, table, wardrobe and bathroom with bath and shower.We had views through two good size windows. It was fairly close to the reception area but away from the noise.