Good But Not As Good As It Should Have Been
I travelled with the Viking cruise line sailing from Rome to Tilbury on the "Viking Sky" ship. The ship is beautifully and expensively furnished/appointed in every way. Most of the staff were up to the standard i have encountered on other cruises - helpful, courteous and efficient. Our cabin was comfortable with a commendably good temperature adjustment system. But, having said this there were failings. The food, in my view was not up to the standard I have been used to in other cruises. In the main restaurant I think it is fair to say that, with the exception of soup i did not get any meal which was hot enough. I assume that it was hot when cooked and I would recommend that someone look at the delivery system. I did not enjoy the food overall. The menu was pretentious and the meat in particular I did not find up to scratch. It was not tasty and the steaks - and I include the "Manfedi's" restaurant in this criticism - were somewhat unappetising. We tried the other speciality restaurant. It must appeal to some people but it was way too pretentious for a peasant like me - even down to the chopsticks for a Western passenger list! My other main problem was that, in some ports, the time spent was ridiculously short. For example, I thought that leaving Vigo at 14.00 was far too early and the departure from Portsmouth also at 14.00 (all aboard at 13.30) was particularly gross in view of the modest distance to be covered to Tilbury, our final destination. Portsmouth has many attractions which cannot be reached in the short time we were in port. I was not happy with the my (albeit limited) contact with senior management. Surf and Turf at the pool was a shambles (lobster available sometimes, steak available sometimes, nothing available sometimes but ne'er the twain should meet!. it so happened when we walked out that we passed the Captain and we told him. He did not seem to be concerned, did not promise to pursue the problem and did not ask for or cabin number. Late in the cruise we had an invitation to a drinks function for people who had done a back-to-back cruise and amongst others the Cruise Director and the Captain were present. There were only about a dozen travellers present but the only people who mingle with us (or even addressed a word to us) were the junior people who were present All credit to them. I did not see the Cruise Director for several days - although it might be my fault that I had not gone to the port talks which he was giving. But in a ship of this size I have been used to seeing the Cruise Director out and about on the ship. The entertainment was good with some very talented singers but the shows they did in the second week were the same as they had done in the first week. Not good! Lastly, in my view Tilbury is unsuitable for a destination port and I shall not be making the same mistake again of arriving there. Unbelievably, there was no taxi rank, just one lady taking bookings. We wanted to get to the bus station at the Bluewater complex and cost us a taxi ride of 40. I thought this was disgraceful but the taxi did not operate on a meter and the lack of taxi facilities left me feeling that I was over a barrel with a bus to catch and no alternative. Never again will I use Tilbury! And, come to think of it I probably will not be using Viking again either!
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