• Ahoy there! Why not join the UK’s largest cruising forum? The Cruise.co.uk forum is the perfect place to meet and interact with likeminded cruisers to have invaluable conversations. Whether you're a veteran cruiser or looking to set sail on the sea for the first time, everyone is welcome on our forum to participate in the hottest conversations in the cruising world. So, what are you waiting for? Join the forum today by clicking here to register!

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Our Christmas Cruise (Summary)

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Our Christmas Cruise (Summary)

    THE FOOD
    As I found on our last Marella Cruise back in Nov 2019, I knew the food would be boring but I had forgotton just how boring it was. Neverthless I was not going to complain, I was glad to have the opportunity to a)cruise, b) be away at Christmas, c)be in the sun, d) not pay silly money for the privilege.
    It was traditional british fayre, meat and two veg, nothing spicy, nothing to excite the tastebuds, fish n Chips, pie and mash, meat and two veg were the order of the day both for lunch and evening meal. We did however find once again that the Italian part of the dining room offered better choices.

    The Christmas Day evening meal was a let down, the starters so unmemorable I cant even recall what we had, the mains a choice of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding or Roast Turkey. The dinner was served on a childs size plate with three very small rounds of Turkey, a minute teaspoon of cranberry, three Brussel sprouts brown in the middle that were obviously of the frozen variety, a handful of carrot sticks, whole French beans that squeaked when you bit into them probably again frozen and two halfs of roast potatoes. I would have given my 3 year old grandson a portion of this measure, not the grand Christmas dinner we expect to have.

    In general, portions were minute anyways, so it was the norm to order at least two starters, main, dessert and quite often cheese plate. Meals were nothing different to what we eat at home on a weekday so for me were not in the least exciting as when I am away I do like to have the opportunity to eat something different.

    DAYTIMES ON BOARD
    With the privilege of the large American fridge and our massive balcony and the suite being just one deck directly under the pool area, we only had to go one deck up to avail ourselves of beer and food. They did not have the tables and trolleys set up as they normally would with the bottles of beer ready to hand, you had to sit and wait to be served, but often we would walk up near the bar and ask one of the waiters for a couple of bottles of beer each (leave the tops on) and were soon able to fill up our fridge with a plentiful supply of beer.

    A splash of bubble bath in the Jacuzzi soon had it looking like one of those tv adds where the foam is overspilling out of a washing machine, but you needed at least an hour and half to fill it as it was operated like a bath tap. But afternoons were chilled with Wilba & Mrs W joining us, leaving our kitchen full of numerous empties of San Miguel to clear away.
    Our cabin stewards were in stealth mode, three of them serviced the cabin and we would leave…. go back half hour later and it was immaculate.

    The snack shack was great for grab and go salads and paninis so this became our norm for the lunch time snack. I think we visited the buffet a couple of lunchtimes to make up a nice plate of salad, but again as this is plated for you, its tricky saying yes some of this, some of that and some of the other, I like a really good plate of salad full of all sorts, with the girl expecting to put just four items on the plate, I actually make the salad my meal with a mix of at least 10 bits and portions and spoons of this that and the other. This became a real mountain of a salad, but explaining a little of this and more of that was challenging.

    The same scenario with the coffee, again they have roped the area off and you ask for an orange juice, coffee, tea etc. Now I am exceptionally fussy with my coffee (infact my OH refuses to make me coffee at home), so you can imagine me trying to explain to the waiter how I like it. On the first go I discarded three cups and after watching exactly what he was doing, then gave precise instructions; coffee, don’t add extra water, don’t put the milk in, please put a tiny bit of milk in a separate glass. Everytime he filled a glass with milk, watching me then pour a mere thimble full into my coffee and leaving the rest. God I really am turning into Mrs Bucket!

    THE ENTERTAINMENT

    We went to see the show most nights. They were good but not as good as our other marella cruise a couple of years ago. What did disappoint was the entertainment flow; which was dinner we usually eat around 7pm finished at 8.30, onto theatre show for 9pm, this was followed by games or quiz in the main lounge at 10pm which for us was a no go and no dancing unless you waited an hour until 11pm, but by this time we were waning, so did not have one opportunity to dance other than a couple of the afternoon dance classes. All this was interspersed with a guitarist or pianist in one of the lounges. I do wish they would go back to the alternating in lounges so at least one area always has a dance band of some kind in flow.

    THE PORTS
    Gibraltar, it really did hammer it down with rain and even though I had taken a brolly decided it was far too heavy a downpour to go into town. What surprised me was as Gibralter was a separate country, I kind of expected some additional covid rules on testing etc but no, not a problem, you could go ashore as normal if you wished.

    Palma, we were the only ship in and as is the case nowadays berthed well out of town, with no port shuttles running. Nonetheless we decided to see if we could make it into town on our own. It was a good 10-15 minutes walk up to the road and we did find a bus stop but as it was boxing day I think the buses were either not operating or working to a limited service as we did not see one, so gave up and went back to the ship but at least stretched our legs.

    Barcelona; The port shuttle cost 4.50 euros return ticket and as usual dropped you off at the bus terminal more of less at the bottom of the C Columbus Statue. Barcelona is very familiar to us, we walked the full length of las Ramblas then headed off in and around the streets of the Gothic area, stopping for a mid morning beer and coffee.

    Valencia; The port shuttle drops you off at a terminus building with a notice in the window to phone for taxi services, the security people inside getting a bit annoyed with so many of us asking for help. We couldn’t get through on our phones and tried grabbing a cab, but refusing to take us unless we phoned though first. In the end just as we were about to give up another cab driver made the call for us as she picked up another fare, so eventually we got lucky and got a cab. A mental note next time it would have been so much easier to arrange for one to have picked us up shipside.
    Valencia is a big place, old and new and the cab driver on our return was surprised we had not visited the newer part saying there is so much to see, but we were happy with the days travels and ready to get back to the ship. Sure we can put this on the to do list for another visit.

    Cartagena; This is my kind of port, straight off the ship and into the town, lots of nice shops and I think had we walked a little further nice view points. Plenty of cafes interspersed with the shops and lovely paved areas. I would definitely put this on my re visit list.

    COVID RULES
    Because the ship was only a third full, it was great not to have to search for a lounger, search for seats in the bars, it was easy to distance yourself and we felt safe at all times. In fact I think the worst was in the airports as distancing and queuing don’t seem to go hand in hand.
    It was so easy to take your temperate every day, scanning your card and looking into the machine. The idea being that if you registered over 38 degrees it would tell you to return to your cabin, disable your charge card and you had to wait until you had medical attention. Crew were tested daily and it was common to see the crew being ousted off the ship at each port, Palma in particular saw the ambulances lining up and late departures from port was the norm.

    Masks had to be worn when moving about the ship, inside and out and I was really pleased that the hand gel was of the fine spray pure alcohol type and not the sticky gel gunk that takes forever to absorb and dry.

    The covid test for re entry into the UK was taken care of by Marella as this was a late change to the rules, they provided the test and certification free of charge on the last but one day of the cruise. It was all very slickly done, all you had to do was remain in your cabin afterwards and providing you didn’t receive a ‘phone call’ within 30 minutes you were free to go about your business. We made good use of the time by starting our packing.

    DISEMBARKATION/FORM FILLING
    We had pre prepared the UK Pax locator form by filling in as much as we could at home and saving it to the point where it would no longer let us continue as this had to be finalised no sooner than 2 days prior to the flight home. Finding it so much easier doing this on a full computer screen with a proper keyboard I am ok, but fiddling with a tiny phone is not my ideal and it did allow you to keep it active by revisiting it within 7 days. Now it should be easy to do the last bits we hope. Well no, four of us sitting in our cabin together trying to do what should have been a ten minute job – took 90 minutes and all of us interpreting the questions completely differently and getting more and more frustrated with the technology, mine would not download, but I did manage to get an email, My OH who has a pay as you go phone could not receive the email but we downloaded it, downloaded it to where we have no idea, it said downloaded but can we find it, No! So I tried to email it to me but it wouldn’t send,, IT experts were are not and where is a 16 year old when you need one!
    Standing in the airport queue and being told in the line to have this ready and that ready, with panic setting in we absconded the help of a young man in the queue next to us – do you know how to work phones was our please, he tapped a few button and opened a few bits he said do you know where ‘files’ are? No what files - an app called files, no idea? Anyway he fiddled about and found files and found my OH’s download thank god as we would not have had a clue. Wilba on the other hand in a state of total dismay, as his phone had given up the ghost and power totally zapped up by all these apps and bits was as dead as a dodo.
    Somehow by luck and by chance and the help of good fellow people around us we made it!

    #2
    When we cruised on Ventura in October we could prefill the full PLF so no fiddling with it a day or two before disembarkation. Mind you we were sailing to/from Southampton and no one asked to see it.

    Venturas food sounds like Marella food, dull, boring and bland but like you I just loved being back cruising and feeling ‘normal’.
    don't want to work, just want to cruise.

    Comment


      #3
      Well the food sounds just my cup of tea (well apart from the Xmas dinner!)

      Happy New Year to you and your hubby, and I hope we get the chance to cruise together again some day. Hopefully all this faffing will have finished .......................................Carol

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by carol, welwyn garden city View Post
        Well the food sounds just my cup of tea (well apart from the Xmas dinner!)

        Happy New Year to you and your hubby, and I hope we get the chance to cruise together again some day. Hopefully all this faffing will have finished .......................................Carol
        I have the opposite view. I don’t go on a cruise to eat the same food as I would cook at home and I do enjoy trying different dishes. Small portions appeal though since they would provide the opportunity to try more than my usual two courses.

        Sheila

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by smtcan, Scarborough View Post

          I have the opposite view. I don’t go on a cruise to eat the same food as I would cook at home and I do enjoy trying different dishes. Small portions appeal though since they would provide the opportunity to try more than my usual two courses.

          Sheila
          Don't get me wrong, I will try different things. It's just that I usually dislike it, and there are a few things I won't eat which limits my choices. I also hate waste, so don't like leaving food (poor hubby usually eats it for me ) ) ...........................................Carol

          Comment


            #6
            IMG_6016.JPG
            Last edited by Bradbury, Coventry; 3rd January 2022, 03:44 PM. Reason: sorry trying my best no idea why its on its side!

            Comment


              #7
              IMG_6053.JPG

              Comment


                #8
                IMG_6134 - Copy.JPG

                Comment


                  #9
                  We tend to use the buffet more on Marella, the main dishes are the same as MDR and they have curry and other selection.

                  The best curry they save for the late buffet which was a struggle to stay up and eat.

                  Specials depend on ship, Explorer the tapas and pizza/pasta(nonnas on E2) a nice change.






                  Comment


                    #10
                    We had a bit of a panic with our passenger locator form in Malaga yesterday. No Internet so we couldn't access the completed form on our phones. The very helpful man on the tui check in desk did something on his own phone so he could see it. Apart from that everything went smoothly but oh for the days when all you needed was a passport!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Topdeck, London View Post
                      We tend to use the buffet more on Marella, the main dishes are the same as MDR and they have curry and other selection.

                      The best curry they save for the late buffet which was a struggle to stay up and eat.

                      Specials depend on ship, Explorer the tapas and pizza/pasta(nonnas on E2) a nice change.





                      Only a quarter of the food station serveries in the buffet were open - certainly not a curry in sight, no pasta, no mexican. The sea skewers was closed and now housed the grab shack food to prevent pax from cross contaminating touching. I dont think nonnas was open either - well it never was when I walked past. So it was quite basic. Soup, Salad, 3 choices of main meal and the deli counter, fruit and desserts - that was your lot.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thoroughly enjoyed the read.

                        Thankfully I am not a coffee drinker, prefer cup of tea any day.

                        As for the food I am with Carol, it also sounds just up my street, and from my experience with Marella (Thomson) it was. As members may know from previous posts I am certainly not a foodie, meat and two veg will do fine. The plainer the better (but not childrens size portions). Certainly not into continental food other than the odd Chinese take away, then it’s the same every time.

                        For us cruising or any holiday at the moment is just too much hassle,
                        Delboy


                        Photo Albums

                        https://www.flickriver.com/photos/delboyalbums/sets/

                        or

                        https://www.flickr.com/photos/delboyalbums/albums

                        Comment


                          #13
                          To think that we used to have a moan about filling in the health form when you got on the ship, that was a doddle compared to now ,Too much hastle for us at the moment .

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Bradbury, Coventry View Post
                            Hi Bradbury.
                            Here you go….
                            42729F25-ED11-4E78-938E-4CD7A310DE80.jpeg
                            0419E54F-BF6E-4F4A-B47C-2B3E06F99851.jpeg
                            JC
                            C P Scott,,,,,"Comment is Free,,but Facts are Sacred"
                            "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by smtcan, Scarborough View Post

                              I have the opposite view. I don’t go on a cruise to eat the same food as I would cook at home and I do enjoy trying different dishes. Small portions appeal though since they would provide the opportunity to try more than my usual two courses.

                              Sheila
                              I agree with you, Sheila - I expect different and better offerings than those which I can, and do, cook week in, week out.

                              Interesting review, Bradbury - I, too, would have found all those techno problems most frustrating.

                              Comment


                              We use cookies to give you the
                              best experience possible.


                              By continuing to use our website you
                              agree to our cookie policy

                              Working...
                              X