Normal convention with cruise reviews is to review the ship first & ports of call last. However in this case I must say a few words about Greenland before the detail of the cruise review. Greenland is 10 times the size of UK & is 83% covered in ice. 4 million cubic kilometers of ice, enough to supply everyone on earth with a billion litres of water! The ice free area is equivalent to the size of France. Only 56000 people live in the entire country with just 14500 in the capitol Nuuk. One lecturer said "you are going to the edge of the civilised world" & in the sense that there is no habitation north of Greenland, this is right. They do not have many resources & most things are imported, meaning expensive. We encountered all weathers except snow, missed things we hoped to see but still had a magical time. The 24 hours in Disko bay area was worth the trip alone! My wife only went because I wanted to see icebergs again, now she tells everyone "she would not have missed it for the world" to make that sort of impression on someone you just have to be very good indeed! We are retired & have cruised the Chilean fjords, Norwegian fjords & Alaska, in our opinion this exceeded them all in scenic splendour. I have photo albums of Icebergs etc, Greenland & Reykjavik+Thorshavn on webshots, link to Icebergs etc is http://community.webshots.com/album/174660450yJHkWp enjoy the splendour & majesty of the ice! So on to the rest of the review.
Getting there...we parked our car at Manchester airport (ready for return flight) & had a long coach journey to Harwich made longer by a diversion for an accident blocking the road. Coach pulled up at 3.15pm right along side the cruise terminal. We handed in our passports & were given our ships cards with minimal formality, through security check & we were onboard, baggage was never seen after putting on the coach until it arrived in our cabin. Welcomed aboard & escorted to our cabin.
The Ship... Formally the Island Princess (one of the two sisters of "love boat" TV show fame). Now 32 years old but well maintained, we would give it a 3*+ overall as while some public areas are superb, some are not up to the latest standards. We liked the quiet Palm court lounge area but part of this was partitioned off at night for the Bridge players as card room on Promenade deck was considered too noisy. Discovery lounge was used for everything from golf putting through bingo to cabaret & tea dances, the explorers bar off this area seemed to attract the smoking passengers. Thought the library was good for size of ship. Small casino & a night club were not used by us or by many other passengers! Carousel lounge was the show lounge, also used for the very popular lectures. For lectures there was not enough seating & if you were late arriving you could not get a seat with a view of the screen, though all lectures were repeated on cabin TV. Sight lines were fairly good with only 4 pillars to contend with & leg room between rows of seats was very good. Reception area on Bali deck was quite nice with the shop above on Pacific deck. . There was a small internet centre on Promenade deck that we did not use, nor did we use the health centre or beauty salon. The seven continents restaurant has a slightly lower central section that enables there to be 4 rows of bench seating, tables along these did not have much space between (only about 15") seemed to us the round tables were to be preferred. Having a fairly low ceiling also seemed to make it fairly noisy. Outdoor decks had several sheltered spots, very useful on this cruise! Pool on Riviera deck was small but deck loungers mostly had pads on them & some teak steamer chairs faced the stern. Promenade deck was not walk round but had some good viewing areas. Two viewing areas are right behind the Bridge wings & very useful to overhear the bridge deliberations when they were on the wings. Spa's & a good stern viewing position were at rear of sun deck, while the top sky deck gave a good all round viewing position with some shelter from the wind available. There is a forward observation deck in front of the yacht club but access is by going down to bridge deck then up. However this does slope up & consequently obscures the view a little if you are using the yacht club as an observation lounge. Lido has a small pool & is the ships buffet area, there is a sliding cover but we thought it noisy & only used it a few times.