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2 Newcastle (England) to Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Fred Olsen have earned good reputation and as they were sailing ex Newcastle which is near for us we decided to give it a try. We have done 9 cruises with Thomson, which we would highly recommend but thought we needed to try another ... Read More
Fred Olsen have earned good reputation and as they were sailing ex Newcastle which is near for us we decided to give it a try. We have done 9 cruises with Thomson, which we would highly recommend but thought we needed to try another company. The ship was really friendly and we met some lovely people. The cabin and all inclusive deal were OK for what we paid. The entertainment was good and probably the best show team we have experienced. The main problem was the dining which was very disappointing from start to finish, both in quality of food (much lower than expected) and times available to eat The 2 set dining times in the evening were 6.30pm wich is too early and 8.30pm which is too late (we were on the latter.) We also had reservations about having to sit with same people every night and without going in to chapter and verse during our second week we opted to dine mostly in the self service cafe in order to avoid! I would point out that we weren't missing out on food quality as it is pretty much the same in all the restaurants i.e. disappointing and can be summed up in one word - EDIBLE. We found the other meal times too restrictive e.g. breakfast ends at 10am and lunch is from 12noon to 2pm. The emphasis seems to be on afternoon tea which goes down very well with the elderly clientele this cruise line attracts. Perhaps if we hadn't been used to Thomson's super flexibility and hot food available 24/7 we may not have found this an issue. In fairness I would add that most people seem to find the food to be out of this world but I witnessed lots of full plates going back to kitchens and we know how some people like to kid themselves. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We 'escorted' the Spirit from Cyprus to Newcastle and had a lovely time in the bargain. Our cabin (543 on A Deck) was spacious, tucked away on a very short corridor with a lift nearby and was kept immaculate by Bert and ... Read More
We 'escorted' the Spirit from Cyprus to Newcastle and had a lovely time in the bargain. Our cabin (543 on A Deck) was spacious, tucked away on a very short corridor with a lift nearby and was kept immaculate by Bert and Mai-Anne. Some engine noise but nothing to write home about. No problems whatsoever with embarkation and disembarkation. Mainly the Ports of call were fine but we hit Kalamata and the lovely Vigo on a Sunday so there wasn't much going off. Loved Gibraltar but not enough time there. Naples is okay for visiting Sorrento, the Isle of Capri and the beautiful Amalfi Coast. The Port of Civitavecchia feeds Rome which is a couple of hours ride away and not much else. Barcelona is well worth a visit and holds many attractions. Lisbon is okay but has a massive graffiti problem. Cherbourg was nice and convenient for a D Day Landings trip which we did. By choice and convenience we ate mainly at the Lido Buffet where the food was good and varied. Can't see anyone going hungry even those who may be picky or are vegetarians/piscatarians. Didn't go to the Captain's Evening because we've done it so many times so thought we'd have a break. We're on the Spirit again in September so we may dress up and attend. The entertainment from the Thomson team was really good and worth watching. Guest entertainers included comedians Maxwell Plum and Rudi West and Chris Andre(brother of Peter Andre)and an ex Drifter called Michael. All were superb especially the latter. The casino is worth a visit and has some really friendly staff. Look out for Larry and Kushan who work in the adjoining Raffles Bar. The shops are good and have plenty of sales and bargains. Visited the Spa and had a special package of three wonderful treatments there. If you want big and impressive with fancy cabins and fine dining then the Spirit is not for you but if you want small and comfortable, laid back, homely and friendly with good grub then this ship is for you. My grumbles are so small I'm not going to bother you with them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012

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