Even though our cruise started in Southampton for many aboard it started in San Juan PR. A 27 day voyage. The ship went from San Juan to NYC to Halifax and made the crossing to Southampton.The ship was 2/3rd capacity during this time.
This ship is not really meant for cruising the UK IMHO. Seeing that there is no indoor pool. Yes it has MUTS but it was too cold for any outdoor activity at least in May. Toward the end of the cruise on a sea day before Paris I did note a few brave souls watching the movies but they were all covered up with blankets,coats and hats. We started off rainy windy and cold in Southampton.
Guersey --too windy to tender in. I had heard that 60% of the time the ship never gets a chance to visit here.??? Why bother??
The weather improved to cool and partly cloudy to cold in the Orkneys.Wish I had a heavier coat and hat.
On our sea day prior to Paris it was very foggy with the ship using it's horn every few minutes. That night they used the horn again about 4AM. Loud enough to be heard in our cabin on deck 12.Keep me up. Paris was very warm. Lots of tourists.The French Open(Tennis) was to begin after we left.
This ship was built in 2007 and signs of wear were showing. Probably time for a rehab.
I find a cruise of 12 days to be a bit long.10days is about right. Many said the same thing. Those that did the 27 day were ready to return home.
We had a cabin on deck 12 Aloha Deck with balcony. We could have really needed only an outside cabin because of the cold weather. Our cabin was close to the laundry room and an easy walk up to the buffet. 2 decks.
Food services-- Buffet- pretty much the same bill of fare every day. It was evidant this buffet staff was NOT very attentive. At least three times one of the deparment heads ask if we had been asked what we wanted as to drinks. He then got them after we were almost finished eating. On occasion we had to get the drinks ourselves. Some of the waiters spent too much time talking to passengers. I think the staff was on the short side.
Our cabin steward was good but mid cruise he departed to return home (India) as his wife needed an operation. The replacement did NOT have his act together. Numerous times he forgot towels,new clean glasses, ice, even the tissues in the bathroom.BTW cabin stewards have 18 cabins to attend to. I remember when it was 16. So I believe the crew has been cut due to the economy.
Usually the PA system is quiet enough where you have to open the cabin door to hear. It was so loud that this was not necessary. They started making the same announcements at 7AM each port day. followed by other announcememts shortly there after. I did mention this to the customer service desk twice. No results. They said people said they couldn't hear the announcements. You had to be deaf not to hear.
We had mostly afternoon excursions so we never got to sleep in except for 2 sea days.
Passengers: Mostly Canadians,US, UK,and Chinese.Mostly retired folks.
Entertainment: Violinist, Ventriloquist,Comedians. and of course the ever present Singers and Dancers. We went to most shows except the Ss&Ds. After some many cruise one tires of this. IMHO.
Dining: Food was good,beef was better .However most sea food was undercooked. The Turkey dinner on US night was poor. The chef needs to find out what a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner is!!
I enjoyed the Veterans get togther. Vets from WWII,Korea,and Vietnam . Each told of their service. Met a few WWII RAF bomber pilots . They served Champagne during this event. A nice touch.
On a port day they had a Classoc Car Lovers forum. I was disappointed as we had a tour then. I went to the customer service desk and requested another try on a sea day. They did so. We had a great turn out with 12-16 attending talking about our cars etc. It lasted a good 1 1/2 hours. Those attending said they were glad it was rescheduled as only a few showed up initially.
Activities: We are trivia nuts so we made most of the events. We sat with various groups till mid cruise when we formed a good group that we called "Densa" a take off of Mensa. Most of the time with 5 member with an occasioal fill in to 6.We won many times. They were giving champagne on most days along with the usual same trickets.
Lots of History on this cruise Loads of Castles to see. Lots of sheep in each country. Bought a nice wool sweater at Loch Ness.
Overall good cruise .
[ 05-30-2012: Message edited by: joe at travelpage ]