My husband and I recently embarked on a four night cruise on the MV Lord of the Glens. We had booked this more than a year ago and as we were travelling in October 2011 we did not have great expectations of good weather. True to form it poured with rain on three out of four days but we were determined not to let this spoil the experience and disembarked on all available opportunities suitably attired.
The pick up arrangements from Inverness Railway Station were well implemented and our short journey to Dolgarroch to join the ship was uneventful. A minor hiccup occurred as cars parked inappropriately did not allow the coach to back up along the towpath and our Cruise Director had to ferry the luggage from the coach in the back of his car!
Our cabin 212 on the ship was well appointed and clean with excellent storage facilities. Toiletries were provided in the bathroom and hot water readily available. As the ship was moored up at night the cabin was quiet enough to allow a sound sleep. The coverlet on the bed was extremely plush but weighed about ten pounds and, as it was fitted, needed to be removed completely to enable movement in bed! This left a sheet and a small fleece blanket folded in two to run up the middle section of the five foot wide bed. As the cabin was air conditioned/ centrally heated this did not pose a problem as we were warm enough. However, we did need the extra pillows from inside the wardrobe as we normally sleep with two pillows each. These pillows were in open style pillow slips and certainly looked stained and discoloured when viewed through the open ended pillow slips. We believe that these should be replaced immediately as they are far below the standard we have ever encountered on any other cruise ship. The cabin steward kept the cabin clean and turned down the bed each night.
Meals on the ship are open dining and we met a great group of people on the first night with whom we dined every evening. Lunch and dinner allowed a choice of main course and the food was adequate to good. Not all our choices were successful and there was a supply problem resulting in a lamb choice being replaced by pork. Disappointingly we did not have a venison choice.
The breakfast buffet was, however, very good and the choice was excellent. Also the provision of tea and coffee available in the lounge for self service was well stocked. The waitresses in the well decorated dining room were efficient and pleasant. We were somewhat non plussed to notice that all the ornately framed pictures seemed to be of Greece or Egypt and somehow expected them to have a Scottish theme. The same was true of the picture in the cabin which was of somewhat ornate fruit trees!
The lounge where we spent most of our afternoons was comfortably furnished and observation seating was provided outside on deck. This was not widely used after the initial day of sailing due to the adverse weather conditions. There was no piped music either in the lounge during the day or in the restaurant at any time. The bar lacked any sort of atmosphere due mainly to two large flat television screens dominating the area with satellite type terrestrial maps showing our location during the day and DVD or TV programs showing in the evening. Do not believe that you will indulge in your usual level of tipple with dinner unless you are prepared to pay a minimum of £24 per bottle for a mediocre wine. This was 33% more than we paid at the three good restaurants we had used in Inverness prior to our cruise. Spirits were at approximately hotel prices. Recognising that drinks on other cruise ships are at Duty Free prices we still feel that the exhorbitant price was the reason why very few people indulged in buying drinks either with meals or in the bar after dinner.
The weather was very inclement resulting in our being unable to berth at Corpach as we were behind time. We were also unable to take our trip on the Isle of Mull due to our itinerary being delayed. The trip that we did take by coach and back by train over the viaduct was informative and enjoyable with an excellent guide. This was the only organised trip available.
We found that very few passengers visited the bar after dinner and so retiring to the cabin to watch "Whisky Galore" or "The 39 Steps" became the only option as tv reception was usually unavailable. Only on two evenings was there any organised entertainment. One evening there was a quiz and on the last evening a harpist and singer performed many Scottish folk tunes. They thought it was the start of our cruise and went on until after 11 pm when we were due for wake up calls at 6.30 am the following morning. We were told by another passenger who had prviously been on this trip that they had been treated to Scottish Dancing and Pipe playing as well as a Kilt Maker lecturing and clothing some of the male guests. We would have welcomed this entertainment.
Instructions to mark the cabin number board as "Out" when going off the ship proved impossible in Tobermory as the board was not on the deck where we disembarked. We were later told that it was on another higher deck due to previous disembakation procedures.
The organisation of disembarkation on the final morning was excellent and our coach driver, Alistair, was a cheery informative soul who kept us entertained on our three hour journey from Oban to Inverness.
Please note that WE DID NOT embark from London Southampton but I was unable to select a suitable alternative of FORT AUGUSTUS Scotland from the available choices!!!!