It took 2 hours to board due to the incompetence of the check in staff --utter chaos at Southampton .We heard later that the same thing happened to the passengers boarding at Rotterdam . Once aboard we found to our dismay that , as smokers ,that the smoking areas were not as described when we enquired when we booked .Even worse the policy on this is still false on the web page terms and conditions (page 16) listing several areas inside and on all open decks-in fact smokers are actually restricted to half of an open deck at the rear of the ship
After a few days we found that the food was never hot in The Lido buffet dining and the same in the main restaurant. The Tv channels in the cabin and other lounges gradually disappeared off the screens. First was ESPN as we passed Suez,the day of the Australian tennis open semi finals which many had gone to Mix bar to watch. The annoying thing was that staff lied to guests with excuses like --satellite fault --mountains blocking the signal (no mountains within 40 miles in the Suez area)--a different excuse to different guests (they didnt seem to realize guests talked to each other )---next all the channels except Fox news went blank --again the same excuses--different excuse to different guests.
Once in the Red Sea at Safarga ,a blackout after sunrise was announced because of the threat of pirates so all outside decks were in total darkness,much to the dismay of all the smokers who used the only smoking area Even more annoying after checking on the NATO site giving advise to shipping re piracy there is no danger in the Red Sea. After 6 days of blackout we were passing ships lit up like Christmas trees in the Persian Gulf while we travelled in darkness all the way to Dubai.
One afternoon a notice appeared on the doors to the rear outside main deck (The Retreat) saying it would be closed for cleaning.We asked why close it for the afternoon and early evening and were told it had to be done then 'as it was in the schedule'--so it couldn't be changed --the same thing happened on the Promenade deck when passengers were cleared for scheduled cleaning in the afternoon ,,until so many complained it was abandoned
The Lido Buffet had 2 sides for serving and was open till 8pm---not late especially for those who had been off ship but at 7.15 each night one side closed causing queues on the other side so service was painfully slow, even more colder food .Even worse on the side that closed ,the staff would start vacuuming around the diners
The drinks on board are very expensive ,the trips too expensive and the ports visited changed without prior notice since the original itinery. The 'happy hour' has been abandoned since the previous cruise by this ship A guest commented that it reminded him of a company taken over by accounts---squeeze more revenue out of the customers for the least possible services
Many other small things wrong on this cruise ,during which many people e mailed complaints to their travel agents By far the worse ship we have ever been on and we have done many cruises.
Our cabin was up to our expectations except for the choice of TV channels or lack of them ---
It was comfortable , spacious and had a good size bathroom with a bath
The only disappointing thing was that we understand that prior to this cruise cabins had the drinks fridges removed , presumably to ensure guests spent more in the bars
We took the hop on hop off bus at the port and did their tour for 70% cheaper than the ships tour to the same places and were able to stay at the places we liked longer
The port we stopped at was Malaga not Barcelona but Malaga is not on your list
Having been here many times we just took the bus into town --a lovely city
This port is a taxi drive to the city .-On other cruises there has been a shuttle bus provided into town----this cruise it was sort your own transport out ---possibly to encourage us to take the ships expensive tour
Got off ship at Valletta after being told that it was best taking the ship tour because it was a long uphill walk to town ---(to tempt us into taking the trip ?)------we knew that the port has an elevator 500 yards from the dock that takes you into the main town square---1 euro return each --bargain
The ship actually called at Navplion in Greece
It is not actually a port and we were tendered in to shore to a small Greek town ---ship tour was to Corinth but again been before so just walked into town which was very nice and quaint
Ship docked at Pireas --
Ship tour very expensive ----taxi at the port 40 euros between 4 of us took us to all sights and back --spoke good English --was less than half of the ships tour cost and went to more places for longer
Ship tours from here were to Luxor ,valley of kings etc which we had seen before--were told it wasn't worth getting off ship as it was only a dock, ship tours from $300 each .We knew better ---got off ship --got taxi for 4 hours between 4 of us for 20 euros--went into town and did some shopping then to a luxary beachside hotel in the next bay and relaxed with some beers at the beach bar Very nice day out .Most stayed on the ship as they had been advised and missed out