First few days out of Southampton were quite choppy at sea and a lot of passengers appeared to be staying in their rooms. Ship movement prevented the acrobatic act from performing in the theatre and outside deck areas were closed. Thankfully, conditions improved once the ship had got past the Bay of Biscay and temperatures rose the closer we got to the Canaries.
Meals in the main restaurant were nothing special for the first few days but significantly improved from the second Gala day onwards. During these nights we were treated to Beef Wellington, Lobster, Escargot, Pheasant, steaks and lovely fish dishes amongst others. Abel and Nelson were exceptional waiting staff and the two Sommeliers we had during the cruise were attentive & knowledgeable. Our Maitre’d (Christian) was very friendly & polite and managed to accommodate our chosen table wishes each night.
Due to staff shortages, the staterooms were only cleaned once a day but our attendant was very flexible as we don’t rigidly stick to vacating at the same time. She kept the room clean, tidy and re-stocked throughout.
Again, because of staff shortages, some venues closed early which was a shame especially at the signature Gin & Fizz bar which was only open from 5-9pm. Some entertainment didn’t go ahead as advertised (Staple Hill duo one night in the Queen’s Lounge for example) which was disappointing. Late night entertainment was minimal.
Entertainment, in general, was good although having two female singers each perform for two nights twice a night in the theatre was a bit repetitive. The four-piece male singers also did two nights so not a lot of variety. The Comedian (Jeff Stevenson) was very entertaining and the ship’s own productions were good. Live performers in the various bars & lounges were very enjoyable especially “Staple Hill” duo, “New Amsterdam” duo and the Irish Folk duo “Cula”. There was a superb blend of music & vocals when “Staple Hill” & “New Amsterdam” performed as “Duos Fourever”.
On-board activities were limited in comparison to what had been offered on the Staycation cruise we took last August. The Fitness centre was closed and the in-door pool not open throughout. Not sure if many of the usual Spa treatments were available either. Only once did we see Chairobics & Zumba classes advertised and there were no professional dancers to give ballroom lessons. There were, however, a multitude & variety of quizzes to participate in.
Special mention to two Bartenders: Joy in the Golden Lion pub and Pawan at the Gin & Fizz bar. Both were very friendly, polite and attentive. They remembered us by both name & stateroom number and always greeted us with a smile & chat. Constantly checked we were alright, taking our orders and making that part of our cruise very enjoyable. They, like Able & Nelson, are a great asset and credit to the company.
Not quite the same experience as the Staycation cruise but still enjoyable.
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